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Kentucky Derby sets attendance, betting records

Updated: May 8, 2012 4:44PM



LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs was a financial winner as Kentucky Derby week set more records for attendance and betting.

Derby week earnings before taxes and other accounting measures increased about $4.5 million to $5.5 million compared with last year, The Courier-Journal reported. The total amount made by the company from Derby week isn’t disclosed, but when combined with previous announcements, Derby week profits are up almost $15 million from 2008.

Churchill drew a record Derby crowd of 165,307 on Saturday and the second-largest crowd for the Kentucky Oaks at 112,552 the day before.

Churchill CEO Robert L. Evans said that handle on the Derby alone was up 19 percent from last year, to $133.1 million.

All-sources handle for the 13 Derby Day races at Churchill totaled a record $187 million, up 13 percent from last year, he said.

Handle on the Oaks Day race card from all sources totaled a record $39.9 million, up 7 percent from last year, he said.

Meanwhile, Churchill Downs Inc., the parent company of the famed track, turned a first-quarter profit thanks to its diversification into casinos and advance-deposit wagering.

Churchill had first-quarter revenue of $138.2 million, up 5 percent from the year-ago period, according to its quarterly results released late Monday.

“Historically, the seasonal nature of our racing operations resulted in losses for the quarter, but the diversification of our business model into our gaming and online businesses more than offset first-quarter losses from racing,” Evans said.

The first-quarter results didn’t include the Kentucky Derby week.



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