LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) (“CDI”) and Keeneland Association, Inc. (“Keeneland”) announced today an historic partnership to propose the construction of two new state-of-the-art racing facilities. One will be in southeastern Kentucky in Corbin (Knox County), and the second will be in southwestern Kentucky in Oak Grove (Christian County). The proposed facilities will feature live horse racing and historical racing machines for guests from Kentucky and beyond.
To share the news, the two companies released a video featuring CDI Chief Executive Officer Bill Carstanjen, Keeneland President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Thomason, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Executive Director Chauncey Morris and Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Director Marty Maline.
“Horse racing is a $4 billion industry in the Commonwealth that creates thousands of jobs, strengthens our statewide economy and attracts millions of visitors from around the globe,” Carstanjen said. “Churchill Downs and Keeneland share a deep commitment to making Kentucky’s horse racing industry the very best version of itself, and the new racing facilities in Corbin and Oak Grove will help us achieve this by generating much needed funds to increase purses and breeders’ incentives.”
“Keeneland is excited to partner with Churchill Downs on this initiative which builds upon our mission to strengthen the sport and create new opportunities for horsemen and fans,” Thomason said. “Not only will these racing facilities strengthen Kentucky’s vital horse industry, but just as importantly, they will positively impact the Commonwealth and the local communities by stimulating significant economic growth, generating hundreds of new jobs and enhancing tourism and hospitality.”
Churchill Downs and Keeneland are working closely with the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and other state and local officials on a number of incentives and necessary infrastructure improvements to bring the Corbin and Oak Grove facilities to fruition.
“Corbin is thrilled to be a part of this historic venture between two of the horse racing industry’s most iconic names,” Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said. “The new racing facility will be a welcome addition to our city’s already long list of sites and attractions for local residents and visitors.”
“We are proud of the significant investment Churchill Downs and Keeneland are committed to making in our community, and are excited to see the infusion of tourism, economic development and new jobs it will bring to Oak Grove and Christian County,” Oak Grove Mayor Bea Burt said.
Each facility is contingent on receipt of an initial pari-mutuel racing license by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Churchill Downs and Keeneland are filing their applications with the commission today.
“Churchill Downs and Keeneland have the support of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association as they move forward with their plans to bring two new racing facilities to our state,” Morris said. “The proposed facilities will benefit our industry and the Commonwealth as a whole through new jobs, greater revenues and more tourism.”
“The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is excited for what this announcement means for our sport,” Maline said. “We represent more than 6,000 owners and trainers who depend on a strong racing industry, and we know this historic partnership will help draw the eyes of millions to Kentucky’s signature industry.”
Initial rendering of the proposed Corbin facility
Initial rendering of the proposed Oak Grove facility
About Churchill Downs Incorporated
Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) (“CDI”), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is an industry-leading racing, gaming and online entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event—The Kentucky Derby. We are a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with gaming positions in eight states, and we are the largest legal mobile betting platform for horseracing in the U.S., through our ownership of TwinSpires.com. We are also one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of mobile games through Big Fish Games, Inc. Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.
About Keeneland Association, Inc.
Excerpted from BloodHorse.com reports
Evelyn Benoit is not your typical horse breeder.
Most buyers of a top-class, $850,000 Thoroughbred mare at public auction would plan a mating for the following breeding season to one of North America’s more fashionable stallions.
At the Nov. 11 session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Grovendale’s James Keogh won a bidding war to acquire the multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed mare Moment of Majesty for $850,000 from Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency’s consignment.
The 9-year-old daughter of Saint Liam was purchased in the name of Benoit’s Star Guitar Inc., named after the Louisiana breeder’s top homebred Star Guitar.
Keogh said Benoit bought the mare specifically to breed to Star Guitar, who stands at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana for $4,000—a far cry from the $100,000 fee for Curlin, the Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm stallion to whom Moment of Majesty was bred this year.
A day later, Benoit struck for another high-priced mare to breed to her stallion Star Guitar, going to $550,000 for the durable runner Five Star Momma during the fifth session of Keeneland’s November breeding stock sale.
Sold in foal to top WinStar Farm stallion Tiznow, Five Star Momma topped the Nov. 12 session, in which the sale enters a new realm, beginning Book 3 after the best lots in the auction were offered in Books 1 and 2.
Keogh said Benoit’s decision to breed such an expensive mares to Star Guitar reflects her desire to give the stallion the best opportunity to succeed.
“It’s not about the money with her. It’s about the horses,” Keogh, part of Benoit’s team of advisers, said of the disparity between the mare’s purchase price and the stallion to whom she will be bred. “It’s family to her. She loves (Star Guitar) so much. He means the world to her.”
Racing for Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable, Star Guitar won 24 of his 30 starts, including 22 stakes, and retired as the all-time leading Louisiana-bred earner of over $1.7 million. In his only graded stakes placing and rare venture outside Louisiana, Star Guitar finished third in the Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Represented by 36 juveniles of 2016, Star Guitar has had two winners from six starters to date, and Keogh said Benoit is getting ready to send out several of her promising homebreds trained by Al Stall Jr.
Keogh said the breeder has supported Star Guitar since he entered stud, sending some 15 of her 22 broodmares to the stallion annually.
“He’s a beautiful-looking horse. He’s show-hunter pretty,” Keogh said. “He’s a fabulous-moving horse. He wouldn’t break eggs, he’s so light on his feet.”
With his breeding and superb running ability, Star Guitar likely could have been gone to a farm outside Louisiana, but keeping him in the Bayou State fit with Benoit’s support of the state breeding program. Star Guitar’s fee will remain at $4,000 for 2017.
“It’s everything to her to support Louisiana’s breeders’ program,” Keogh said. “She had several offers to stand him in Kentucky, but she wouldn’t consider it because she wants to support Louisiana racing and breeding. She is passionate about racing. She watches racing three hours a day.”
An Accredited Louisiana-bred yearling colt by Curlin sold for $350,000 on Wednesday, September 14, Day 3 of the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. This is the highest price ever for a Louisiana Bred to have run through the Lexington, Kentucky Sale.
Bred in Louisiana by Hargroder Farms, LLC, the attractive bay colt is out of Moonlight Lover, an unraced Bernardini mare. Consigned by VanMeter-Gentry Sales as agent, he was purchased by Katsumi Yoshida.
Breeder Don Hargroder says of the colt, “This colt was very special from the time he hit the ground, and we are very proud to have been part of his life. Several years ago, I said my goal was to get national respect with Louisiana breds, and I think we did that with this colt. His dam has a very attractive Lewis Michael filly by her side and we are shopping now for stallions for her next breeding. ”
“As Louisiana follows the trend of the rest of the country with smaller foal crops, our breeders have embraced the idea of quality over quantity,” states Roger Heitzmann, III, Secretary/Treasurer of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. He continues, “This colt is a prime example of where I believe we are headed. I believe you will see Accredited Louisiana Breds selling at higher prices moving forward.”
Jockey Corey Lanerie won with half of his eight mounts on Keeneland’s Saturday card, taking over the lead in the local jockey standings with a total of 14 wins. With just four racing days remaining, Lanerie has a one-win lead over both Javier Castellano and Luis Saez, both of whom were absent on Saturday.
Lanerie won his first leading rider title at Keeneland last fall with 25 wins over the course of the meet. Castellano captured the leading rider title for last year’s Spring meeting with 21 victories.
The wins began in the first race on Saturday for Lanerie, when he piloted Cheray to a one-length starter allowance victory for trainer Mark Cristel. His next win came in the fifth race, booting home Mike Maker’s Try Your Luck to a 9 1/4-length maiden special weight victory. He captured back-to-back events to close out the day, winning the seventh aboard Scooter Dickey’s Shadow Rock and the eighth on Charlie LoPresti’s Dear Elaine.
Castellano spent Saturday riding at Charles Town Race Course in West Virginia, where he won two races including the Charles Town Classic aboard Stanford. He is scheduled to return to Keeneland for racing on Sunday. Saez, who got off to a smoking-hot start at the Keeneland Spring meeting with seven wins over the first three days, has been riding in New York since Wednesday, and captured three races, including two stakes, on Saturday’s card at Aqueduct.
From Paulick Report