“We need to develop a program that will reach around the world,” he said, noting that 80 percent of horse wagering is now done off-track.Churchill President and CEO Thomas Meeker noted the industry is in the process of consolidating.“Ten years ago we didn’t have a market beyond 25 miles (of a track),” he said. “Today it’s remarkably different. You’re offering a gaming product (now). Some people don’t like to hear that. As a result, offering full cards (of simulcasting) has become more important.”That means attracting more horses, quality horses. To do that, purses have to be increased--something Churchill is in a position to promote. Meeker noted that in a few short years, Churchill has increased its purses more than fourfold.
Commissioner John Simon praised Duchossois for seizing the opportunity and commissioner Leon Shlofrock acknowledged, “This is the trend in the United States.”The deal calls for Duchossois to become a director of Churchill Downs Inc., which will expand its board from 12 to 15 members. Scott Mordell remains as president and CEO of Arlington.Churchill owns Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., Calder Race Course outside Miami, and percentages in Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., and Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind.Arlington originally opened in 1927 and was rebuilt after a 1985 fire. The racetrack operates pari-mutuel facilities in Chicago, Arlington Heights, Rockford, Waukegan, and East Moline, Ill.