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SBD/May 9, 2011/Events and Attractions
Kentucky Derby Draws Record Crowd, Sees Slight Increase In All-Sources Wagering
Published May 9, 2011
A CHANGE IS NEEDED: Churchill Downs Inc. President & CEO Robert Evans prior to the Kentucky Derby was asked about the state of horse racing and he said, "The day-to-day horse racing that goes on across the country (is) pretty tough sledding. The special stuff -- Kentucky Oaks, Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes -- those kind of events are going great. So quality stuff works, the stuff that isn't high quality is struggling right now" ("Street Signs," CNBC, 5/6). In Portland, John Canzano wrote horse racing "needs an overhaul." Canzano: "It needs a mission. It needs leadership. It needs fresh marketing and a new outlook. The horses need an advocate, too." Fans need a "reason to care about horse racing for more than a few weeks out of the year," and the "premier race in the Triple Crown falls flat." Canzano: "The experience at Churchill Downs is special. Unforgettable. As good, almost, as a summer Olympics. But most of that is lost through the broadcast, cheap promotion and an industry that is desperate and catering mostly to the off-track wagering industry instead of fixing itself" (Portland OREGONIAN, 5/8).