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Churchill’s lament

Jul 31, 2001 7:01 AM

Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) was crying the blues last week and suggesting that “creative solutions” — make that read slot machines — would be needed for the home of the Kentucky Derby to continue as a prominent racetrack.

Track spokesmen said the property had been badly impacted by the Caesars riverboat being operated in the track’s back yard by Park Place Entertainment Corp. (PPE).

In a number of different areas, said the track GM Alex Waldrop, Caesars outdoes Churchill. These included: attendance, total wagered, total win/hold and in capital investment.

Waldrop also cited the competition from Delaware and West Virginia, both areas where slot machines are installed at the racetracks, as a factor in threatening Churchill Downs’s future.

Company CEO Tom Meeker has been on the record for several years that he would favor slot machines being installed at Kentucky’s racetracks.