Fair Grounds to Host Claiming Crown For First Time in 2011

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans, Louisiana will host the 13th running of the Claiming Crown on Saturday, December 3, 2011. Patterned after the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Claiming Crown was designed to reward Thoroughbred racing’s “blue-collar” horses and will offer races at varying distances on both dirt and turf.

“Fair Grounds is proud to bring the Claiming Crown to New Orleans,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing for Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. “One of our stated goals has been to host top end national events at our racetrack, and the Claiming Crown certainly fits very well.  We look forward to teaming with TOBA, the National HBPA and our local HBPA as we try to make the 2011 Claiming Crown a record-setting event.”

“The Louisiana HBPA is happy the National HBPA and TOBA are bringing the Claiming Crown to Louisiana.  We feel the Fair Grounds is a great choice to host this prestigious event.  Claiming Crown rewards the horses that are the backbone of racing,” stated Louisiana HBPA President Larry Robideaux Jr.

This will mark the first time Fair Grounds has hosted the event, which debuted at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota in 1999. Canterbury has hosted 10 of the first 12 renewals of the event. The Claiming Crown was held at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) in Bensalem, Pennsylvania in 2002 and at Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky in 2007.

Further details on the event’s race lineup, purse structure, nomination and entry deadline schedule, and eligibility dates will be released soon.

The Claiming Crown is a partnership between the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. The Claiming Crown was created to be the claiming horse owner’s Breeders’ Cup; a special racing event, created for the "average owner," and featuring some of the most competitive horses in the country. The Claiming Crown has been held annually since 1999. For more information about Claiming Crown please visit www.claimingcrown.com.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation’s third-oldest racetrack, 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 10 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 139th Thoroughbred Racing Season runs through March 27, 2011, highlighted by the 98th running of the Grade II, $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 26.

TOBA, based in Lexington, Kentucky, was formed in 1961 and is a national trade organization of Thoroughbred owners and breeders. TOBA's mission is to "improve the economics, integrity and pleasure of the sport on behalf of Thoroughbred owners and breeders." Projects managed by TOBA include the American Graded Stakes Committee, The Racing Game, Sales Integrity Program and Claiming Crown. TOBA is the owner of The Blood-Horse Inc., and is represented on the Board of Directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as a founding member.

The National HBPA, based inLexington, Kentucky, is the largest racing horsemen’s representative association in North America, with 30 affiliate organizations and over 30,000 member horsemen.  Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies, Equineline.com, and Horseman Labor Solutions are proud corporate partners of the National HBPA, and TVG is the official television partner of the National HBPA.