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Fair Grounds to Offer High-Definition Simulcast Signal
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will offer high definition (“HD”) simulcasts of all of its races when the historic New Orleans track opens its 2009-2010 Thoroughbred meet on Nov. 6. In doing so, Fair Grounds will become the second Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) track, and only the third in North America, to offer a high-definition simulcast signal to on-track and simulcast patrons.
The HD simulcasts will be available at select simulcast outlets, throughout Fair Grounds’ Louisiana OTB network, and at several on-track locations during the 85-day Fair Grounds meet that will run through March 28.
“The debut of high definition simulcasting at Fair Grounds is another step in our continuing effort to improve the Fair Grounds racing experience for our horsemen, on-track fans, and customers who will enjoy our outstanding races in OTBs, simulcast centers or the comfort of their homes,” said Austin Miller, president of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. “We are just weeks away from what should be the most exciting, high-quality racing meet in Fair Grounds history and the addition of HD simulcasting underscores our commitment to the future of racing at our historic track. We have significantly strengthened our stakes schedule and fine-tuned our racing surface, which was already regarded as one of the finest in North America. The introduction of our high definition simulcast signal will help bring the excitement of Fair Grounds racing to life for countless fans and is one more reason to look forward to the start of our spectacular meet on Nov. 6.”
The highly anticipated Fair Grounds season will feature a record stakes schedule set to include 66 stakes events with total purses of $7.24 million. The meet’s highlight will be the Saturday, March 27 program headed by the 97th running of the Grade II Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds’ major prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), and five other stakes events. The 2010 Louisiana Derby will carry a record purse of $750,000-added and will be run at the new distance of 1 1/8 miles.
Fellow CDI track Churchill Downs became the first in North America to offer simulcasts in HD when Churchill Downs Simulcast Productions (“CDSP”) delivered High Definition simulcasts of races at the Louisville, Ky. track during its 2008 Fall Meet.
“The enthusiastic response to High Definition simulcasting at Churchill Downs has been gratifying and we are delighted to bring the quality and clarity that HD simulcasting provides to a Fair Grounds meet that will be a true highlight on the American racing calendar,” said David Loignon, CDSP general manager. “Churchill Downs Incorporated continues to invest in the future of Thoroughbred racing in the United States. With nearly 90 percent of all U.S. handle bet at locations away from the track where the race occurs, we view our investment in high-definition video as an absolute requirement for racing’s success in the 21st century.”
About Fair Grounds
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’ 138th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 6, 2009, through March 28, 2010. Information about Fair Grounds can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.