Churchill Downs has finalised the acquisition of Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in a transaction that was previously described as “an exciting announcement for the horse racing industry” by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.
The $79m purchase from Enchantment Holding, an affiliate of Laguna Development Corporation, follows approval by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
In acquiring Ellis Park, which was funded with cash on hand and through the company’s existing credit facility, CDI also assumes the opportunity to construct a track extension facility with historical racing machines in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Ellis Park, which celebrated 100 years of racing this year, features a gaming facility venue with approximately 300 historical racing machines.
“Our team is already hard at work in both Henderson and Owensboro,” said Bill Carstanjen, Chief Executive Officer of CDI.
“In the coming days, we look forward to sharing more about our plans to invest in the racing infrastructure at Ellis Park and to drive significant purse improvement through the Owensboro historical racing opportunity.”
Alongside the purchase, CDI has commenced planning for investments in both the Ellis Park racing infrastructure and to construct Owensboro Racing & Gaming.
This latter venue will have 600 HRMs, a simulcast wagering centre, and multiple food and beverage offerings, and forms part of an expected $75m outlay in Kentucky’s Henderson and Daviess Counties over the next 12 months.