Louisiana Residents 1-2-3 in 'Big Easy Bucks' Challenge

NEW ORLEANS, La (March 22, 2009) - It was an all-Louisiana trifecta in the inaugural "Big Easy Bucks" Handicapping Challenge Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Keith Davis of New Orleans, Ross Yelverton of Erath and Howard Dennis of Denham Springs finished first, second and third, respectively, and will represent Fair Grounds at the 2010 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship next January in Las Vegas.

Davis topped the field of 29 entrants by increasing his starting bankroll of $3,000 to $5,076, thanks in large part to multiple exacta tickets combining Tizaqueena with Sharbat in Saturday's feature race, the Fortin Handicap.

In addition to his bankroll, Davis earned the tournament's $8,700 top prize.

Yelverton, playing in his first-ever handicapping tournament, led for much of the day before Davis' late exacta score. He finished with a bankroll of $4,722.80, and earned an additional $2,900 for his second-place finish.

Dennis, an NHC Tour regular, was among the leaders throughout the day and finished third with a bankroll of $4,700.60. He earned $1,450 for his finish.

Les Harris of Keller, Texas, finished fourth and Craig Kaufman of Hacienda Heights, Calif., was fifth. They were the only other players in the field to make a profit on their wagers.

Tournament entrants were required to wager a minimum of $300 on each of the final 10 races on Saturday's Fair Grounds program.

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.