Despite inch upon inch of rain and a weather forecast that could have chased away patrons, the Kentucky Derby more than held its own. Handle and reported attendance were up from 2009, providing a boost for Churchill Downs.
On the morning April 30, all the elements were coming together for two storms: the perfect storm that could result in a record crowd for the Kentucky Oaks and the heavy thunderstorms that are forecast for Kentucky Derby Day.
Churchill Downs announced March 9 that Bacardi will sponsor the infield hospitality area for this year's April 31 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Churchill Downs will offer three Future Wager Pools for the May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and one Future Wager Pool for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Each wagering period will be for three days.
Churchill Downs' exclusive Infield Club, which offered a new guest experience for fans of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks in 2009, will return for this year's renewals with several venue enhancements.
Churchill Downs reported that its online sale of 3,000 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) reserved seat packages sold out Jan. 6 in 48 minutes.
Churchill Downs' online sale of limited two-day Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks ticket packages, which was delayed Dec. 16 by a potential data error with its new online box office, has been rescheduled for Jan. 6.
For the first time, Churchill Downs will give the general public an opportunity to purchase two-day ticket packages to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks via the racetrack's new online box office, http://tickets.churchilldowns.com.
Churchill Downs will install permanent lights and schedule regular nighttime racing programs. The announcement was made Nov. 17 during a news conference at the Louisville racetrack.
A controversial recommendation to halt wagering at zero minutes to post time at all racetracks was shelved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Oct. 27 pending a public meeting at which the issue will be further vetted.
Churchill Downs and Kentucky horsemen have reached a three-year agreement that sets purse payments, establishes purse supplements and ends a legal dispute that began in the spring of 2008.
Based on a review of its experimental three night racing cards during the spring meet, Churchill Downs Inc. announced Sept. 28 it will install permanent lights at its flagship racetrack in Louisville.
Elizabeth Harris, executive director of Thoroughbred Charities of America since 2004, has been named vice president of communications for Churchill Downs Inc. Harris will assume her new role Aug. 20.
The 135th renewal of the grade II, $400,000-added Clark Handicap highlights the 12 stakes races with total purses of $1.775 million for the Nov. 1-28 fall meet at historic Churchill Downs.
Churchill Downs Incorporated announced July 13 that T. Kevin Flanery has been named the 13th track president of Churchill Downs Racetrack.
Amid considerable discussion about a quickly developing crisis facing the state's racing industry, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission May 12 approved a request from Churchill Downs to eliminate seven racing dates from the current spring meet.
Churchill Downs called off its final five races on May 8 following a heavy wave of showers and thunderstorms. It was just the third cancellation of its kind in the last 19 years at the Louisville racetrack.
Customers of TVG will be able to wager on the Churchill Downs spring meet beginning May 1, it was announced in the early evening of April 30. The limited-term deal also includes wagering on the 2009 Arlington Park meet and Calder Race Course meet through Oct. 31.
Churchill Downs April 15 announced that multiple-award winner and country music superstar LeAnn Rimes will help the racetrack launch a new tradition when she performs the national anthem live as part of the ceremonies leading up to the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 2.
Lee Ann Shellman, who since 2003 has served as senior director of premium seating at Churchill Downs, is leaving the Kentucky racetrack. Her final day will be Dec. 31.
Calder Race Course announced Dec. 12 that due to the continuing overpayment of purses at the current Tropical Meet, the racetrack is cancelling three stakes races from the schedule: the $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap (gr. III) and $100,000 Frances Genter Stakes (gr. III) on Dec. 27, and the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby (gr. III) on Jan. 1. The 2008/09 Tropical Meet ends on Jan. 2, 2009.
Churchill Downs said Oct. 24 it has not yet received consent from horsemen to distribute its racing signal to national advance deposit wagering sites for its fall meet, which starts Oct. 26.
- By Jim Freer
Churchill Downs Inc. and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association announced on Sept. 10 that they have reached an agreement on a contract for future slot machine revenue at CDI-owned Calder Race Course.
Calder Race Course got state permission to run four days a week instead of five for an 11-week period beginning Sept. 1. The South Florida track has lost horses due to reduced purses that were caused by a lingering dispute over simulcast signal distribution.
Calder Race Course has asked the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for permission to hold live racing four days a week, rather than five, during 11 weeks beginning Sept. 1.
Churchill Downs Inc. has appointed Ted Nicholson to oversee operations at Calder Race Course on an interim basis, one day after CDI implemented a company-wide personnel overhaul.
In a flurry of responses filed recently in federal court, Kentucky horsemen claim Churchill Downs Inc. owes purse funds upwards to $3 million in unpaid fees from wagering revenues, and have asked a judge to force the racetrack company to pay out funds lost from a 20% purse cut.
The head of a Kentucky horsemen's association said his group withheld approval for the Churchill Downs signal to go out to a pair of offshore rebate shops for the undercards of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), and is aggravated that the track is blaming horsemen for a decline in handle on the two programs.
Churchill Downs Inc. announced Monday that T. Kevin Flanery has been appointed to the position of vice president of national public affairs.
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