On Thursday, October 3, Churchill Downs Inc. announced that it had reached an agreement with JACK Entertainment and Hard Rock International for the buying of Turfway racetrack. The company will pay a cool US$46 million in cash for the Kentucky racetrack.
The purchase of Turfway by Churchill Downs Inc. is some what of a peace accord between the gaming companies. Furthermore, the three companies can now avoid what would have been a prickly meeting with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) later this month. The meeting would be about determining the 2020 meet calendar. Additionally, the sale of Turfway is now separate from the US$780 million sale of JACK’s casino in Cincinnati.
Churchill Downs Inc. Plans in Kentucky Cause Conflict
The potential contentions between Churchill Downs and the other two operators were around racing dates at Turfway. Churchill Downs Inc. announced plans to build a US$200 million facility in Kentucky last month. The company considered the state a “neglected” market. Furthermore, they sought to hold races from December to March, dates which are traditionally held by Turfway. Had Churchill Downs not bought the racetrack, JACK and Hard Rock said they would fight to protect and move the 60-year old track.
According to a statement by Churchill Downs Inc. on Thursday, the KHRC will meet on Tuesday. If the KHRC approves the deal, then the Louisville-based company will pull the plug on its initial US$200 million project to focus on investing more than US$100 million in Turfway renovations. This includes building a clubhouse, expanding their collection of historical horse racing (HHR) machines to 1,500, and adding an inner dirt track.
Churchill Downs’ flagship president, Kevin Flanery, said the company will reinvigorate Kentucky’s racetrack. “Our team is poised to restore Turfway to its former glory, anchored by northern Kentucky’s first historical racing machine facility,” he said. “The result will be a first-class racing product fuelled by increased purses that keeps high-quality horses in Kentucky year-round and appeals to horseplayers nationwide.”
How the Money will be Spilt
Of the US$46 million that Churchill Downs Inc. will be paying, JACK will receive US$36 million and Hard Rock will get US$10 million.
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