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SBD/May 6, 2013/Events and Attractions
Kentucky Derby Draws Over 150,000 Despite Rain; Betting Total Second Best On Record
Published May 6, 2013
FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH: In N.Y., Joe Drape wrote as the business of horse racing "continues its long decline,” Churchill Downs Inc. has “transformed itself into a full-blown gambling company with interests in casinos and Internet sites.” While financial analysts have “applauded the shift" while pointing to a 51% spike in CDI's stock value over the past five years, the horse racing world "feels abandoned" by the company. Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Michael Campbell said, “They don’t push horse racing anymore. They want casinos and technology, but they would not have access to either without horse racing.” Churchill Downs in ’05 owned seven racetracks that "between them hosted more than 650 days of live racing every year.” But now it has four tracks and "half as many days of live racing.” CDI officials said that the “pivot from horse racing was out of necessity.” But Drape wrote the company’s “bottom-line approach to its racetrack holdings and its hard-line negotiating positions have alienated horseman throughout the industry” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/4).
PREAKNESS PEAK: Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas on Friday said that ticket sales for the May 18 Preakness Stakes are up 10% compared to a year ago, and that this year’s race "could see attendance rise for the fourth straight year and top the record" of 121,309 set in ’12. In Baltimore, Jeff Barker reported there are 25 tents "spoken for in the corporate tent village," with Under Armour, Toyota and Mitsubishi participating. Chuckas said that 50% of all tickets are sold "from the Monday after the Kentucky Derby until the Preakness” (Baltimore SUN, 5/4).
COMING UP ROSES: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Pia Catton wrote Thursday's Taste of Derby event in its fourth year became “more comfortable and quite a notch tastier than in the past.” With a new location in the “massive Kentucky Exhibition Center, it was brighter and easier to navigate than the airport hangar of previous years” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/4). Meanwhile, in Louisville, Steve Jones noted Univ. of Louisville basketball players Mike Marra, Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng “carried the Derby’s iconic garland of roses from the paddock to the winner’s circle” before the race (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 5/5).