Churchill Down Incorporated (CDI) has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Ellis Park Racing and Gaming in Henderson, Kentucky for a total consideration of $79m in cash.
Located north of the Ohio River, Ellis Park has celebrated 100 years of racing this year and is recognised as the historic home of Summer Thoroughbred racing in Kentucky. The park features a gaming facility location with around 300 historical racing machines (HRM).
The transaction will be completed upon approval by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. In the meantime, CDI is planning to make investments in the park’s racing infrastructure, and also plans to construct a track extension and entertainment venue at Owensboro Towne Square Mall. The extension will feature 600 HRMs, a simulcast wagering centre, and various food and beverage options.
Additionally to the purchase price, CDI’s total investment in Ellis Park is expected to amount to $75m.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said: “This is an exciting announcement for the horseracing industry, the cities of Henderson and Owensboro, and the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky.
“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.”
Bill Carstanjen, CDI CEO, added: “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 horseracing talent from across the country to the Bluegrass State each July and August.”
Beshear concluded: “This investment will ensure our Kentucky horsemen and women have the best year-round racing circuit in the country and create jobs throughout the region and state. Churchill Downs is a great corporate citizen and an important part of Team Kentucky.”
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