SBD/Issue 202/Facilities & Venues

CDI's Evans Spars With State Senate President Over Horse Racing

CDI Exec Says Kentucky's Thoroughbred Industry
Is Dying, Alludes To Failure Of Lottery Bill
Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) President & CEO Bob Evans yesterday "took on" Kentucky state Senate President David Williams during a panel discussion on the future of the state's horse racing industry, according to Gregory Hall of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. Evans said that Kentucky's thoroughbred industry is "dying, while states where expanded gambling boosts purses are faring better, and alluded to the failure of a bill to put video lottery terminals at racetracks." Evans said Williams and his supporters, by failing to pass the bill, "have put Kentucky racing on the 'do not resuscitate' list." However, Williams said Evans' comments were "false and misleading." He also argued that Evans "'has very little authority to make such vitriolic statements' when Churchill offers a free shuttle from Louisville for horsemen to ship horses to the company's Chicago-area track." Williams said that his proposal to "tax lottery sales and out-of-state betting on Kentucky races would have provided enough of a boost for purses and breeding incentives." Evans was "one of four panelists who focused largely on whether slot machines or the terminals, which are similar, could assist Kentucky's industry or actually would hurt it." Evans after the forum said that he "isn't worried that a track with slots-boosted purses would try to compete with the Kentucky Derby." Evans: "You can't rule anything out. Maybe somebody wants to come along with something else to do on the first Saturday in May, and bring it on. We'll take it on. We'll beat it" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 7/9).

STOP & SMELL THE ROSES: The AP's Will Graves noted a dozen states, including Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, "already have expanded gaming at their tracks," which gives those states "another revenue stream to fatten purses and lure horsemen away from non-gaming states like Kentucky." But the Kentucky Derby "appears to be safe," despite Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo claiming that there is a "chance another race could replace" the Derby as the first race in the Triple Crown (AP, 7/8).

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