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Albarado Forges to Front in Fair Grounds Jockey Standings

NEW ORLEANS, La. (March 1, 2009) - Robby Albarado, seeking an unprecedented seventh Fair Grounds riding title, moved into sole possession of the top of the local standings for the first time this season after riding Stewart Madison's Cush to a win in Sunday's $52,000 allowance feature.

Albarado ended Sunday's program with 67 wins, one more than last year's leading rider, Jamie Theriot, who was winless on the card.

Albarado's Fair Grounds titles came in an eight-year span from 1997-98 through 2004-05. Albarado and Ronald Ardoin share the local mark of six riding crowns.

Also in contention for local honors with 63 wins is Irish-born James Graham, who rode back-to-back winners Sunday - aboard Paul Saylor's Axel Swagger in the second and Pop-A-Top's Eightonine Bell in the third.

With only 15 days remaining in Fair Grounds' 137th season, which runs through March 29, it is a near-certainty that this race for leading rider will be the closest in more than a half-century. Ardoin edged Bobby Walker Jr. by six wins to win the first of his six titles in 1981-82, and since then, the margin has never been less than nine wins.

Following three dark days, live racing resumes Thursday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program and a slightly-altered first race post time of 12:35 p.m.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation's third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds' 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.