Churchill Downs, Magna Team Up
Churchill Downs Incorporated ("CDI") and Magna Entertainment Corp. ("MEC") (NASDAQ: MECA) today announced that they have entered into an agreement to cooperate in the bidding process for the New York racetrack franchise, which is currently held by the New York Racing Association and will expire Dec. 31, 2007. In addition, CDI and MEC look to join other New York racing and business entities interested in forming a larger group to bid on the racing franchise that includes Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. In June, the State of New York initiated a process to formally invite bids for the franchise. CDI and MEC share a common view regarding the importance of New York racing to the overall success of horse racing in North America. As the owners of many of North America's other premier racing venues - including Churchill Downs, Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Arlington Park, the Maryland Jockey Club, Fair Grounds Race Course, Calder Race Course, Lone Star Park and Golden Gate Fields - the two companies have extensive experience acquiring and upgrading racetrack facilities; managing and marketing major racing events, including Triple Crown races; building positive relations with horsemen; and growing their respective businesses. The two companies have already partnered in Racing World, a London-based satellite television service that delivers North American horse racing content to customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Robert L. Evans, CDI's newly appointed president and chief executive officer, said, "By working cooperatively, we can improve and enhance customers' entertainment experiences at the three racetracks that make up the New York franchise. Our companies have already experienced the benefits of working cooperatively, and our affiliation will maximize the contribution we can make to the future success of New York racing."
"It is not the goal of either MEC or CDI to control New York racing," added MEC Chairman Frank Stronach. "Our intention is to provide our companies' collective expertise to a bid group comprised of prominent New York enterprises and others with the capability and desire to win the franchise and the commitment and resources needed to revitalize New York racing."