Churchill Downs Inc. has withdrawn from Empire Racing Associates’ bid to operate the Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga racetracks in New York.
Louisville-based Churchill Downs was one of several business entities that had joined in Empire Racing’s bid to operate the three New York Thoroughbred racetracks after the tracks’ contract with the New York Racing Association expires at the end of this year. One of the other high-profile business entities, Magna Entertainment, has also withdrawn from the Empire Racing.
“When our company took a position in Empire Racing in August 2006, we were joining a very diverse, accomplished, resourceful and highly motivated group of business partners, including New York horsemen, whose common goal was creating a framework that would ensure the success of New York horse racing,” said Robert L. Evans, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Inc. “Since that time, the make-up of Empire Racing has changed significantly, and the bidding and selection process is now undefined. We continue to believe that Thoroughbred racing’s success in the United States requires that New York racing be economically viable. Churchill Downs Inc. simply wants what’s best for New York horse racing, regardless of whether our company plays a role in the ultimate solution. Remaining part of Empire Racing is not serving that goal, so we’ve ended our participation in Empire Racing.”
Churchill Downs owns and operates racetracks in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and Louisiana. The company also has off-track betting facilities and interests in various advance-deposit wagering, television production, telecommunications and racing services companies, including a 50 percent interest in HorseRacing TV™, a national cable and satellite network that supports the company’s network of simulcasting and racing operations.