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Churchill Downs Inc. to acquire Ellis Park in Kentucky

16th September 2022 11:58 am GMT
Churchill Downs

New York-listed racing and gaming operator Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has signed an agreement to acquire Ellis Park Racing & Gaming (Ellis Park) in Henderson, Kentucky. 

CDI will pay $79 million in cash to Enchantment Holdings, an affiliate of Laguna Development Corporation, subject to certain working capital and other purchase price adjustments. CDI will also assume Ellis Park’s opportunity to construct a track extension facility in Owensboro, Kentucky.

“This is an exciting announcement for the horse racing industry, the cities of Henderson and Owensboro, and the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “Churchill Downs has proven it has the experience, resources, and desire to reinvigorate Ellis Park into a premier racing destination and provide unmatched gaming entertainment.”

CDI chief executive officer Bill Carstanjen commented: “We are very enthused to welcome Ellis Park to the Churchill Downs racing family. Our team is committed to building a summer meet at the ‘Pea Patch’ that keeps more Kentucky-bred horses and Kentucky-based trainers’ in their home state while attracting top horse racing talent from across the country to the Bluegrass State each July and August.”

Closing the transaction remains subject to approval by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

CDI plans to invest in the Ellis Park racing infrastructure and construct Owensboro Racing & Gaming, a track extension and entertainment venue at Owensboro’s Towne Square Mall that will feature 600 historical racing machines and a simulcast wagering centre. Over the next year, CDI expects its total investment in Henderson and Daviess Counties to be approximately $75 million in addition to the purchase price.

“The opportunity to bring Churchill Downs to Owensboro is particularly significant to us,” said CDI senior vice president of corporate development Jason Sauer. “We are eager to start the work to elevate Ellis Park’s reputation as a summer destination for Thoroughbred racing while delivering a premier gaming and entertainment experience to Daviess County. We look forward to sharing more exciting details about our plans in the coming days.”

Shares in Churchill Downs Inc. (NASDAQ:CHDN) closed 0.87 per cent lower at $199.65 per share in New York Thursday.

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