Churchill Downs to acquire Kentucky’s Ellis Park for $79m

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Under the arrangement, CDI will purchase Ellis Park Racing & Gaming from Enchantment Holdings, an affiliate of Laguna Development Corporation, and take full ownership of the venue.

Located in Henderson, Kentucky, Ellis Park has hosted horse racing for the past 100 years, while the site also features a gaming facility venue with approximately 300 historical racing machines (HRMs).

The acquisition agreement also includes CDI assuming Ellis Park’s opportunity to construct a track extension facility at Owensboro’s Towne Square Mall. The new Owensboro Racing & Gaming site will also house an entertainment venue with 600 HRMs, a simulcast wagering centre, and multiple food and beverage offerings.

Over the next year, CDI said it expects the total investment in the Henderson and Daviess counties to be approximately $75.0m in addition to the purchase price.

The deal remains subject to certain working capital and other purchase price adjustments, as well as approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

“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,” CDI chief executive Bill Carstanjen said.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear added: “This is an exciting announcement for the horse racing. CDI has proven it has the experience, resources, and desire to reinvigorate Ellis Park into a premier racing destination and provide unmatched gaming entertainment.

“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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