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Rachel Alexandra Dominates Kentucky Oaks 135

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/02/2009 #

A crowd of 104,867, up 4.8 percent over the 2008 crowd of 100,046, witnessed a sublime performance in Kentucky Oaks 135, as favored Rachel Alexandra cruised to a record 20 ¼-length victory in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.  Kentucky Oaks 135 also featured a day of events to raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, including a “pink out” among race fans and a special one-hour program on NBC’s sister cable network, Bravo, focusing on the food, fashion, and celebrity experience associated with Kentucky Oaks Day.

All sources wagering on the 12-race Kentucky Oaks 135 card was $30,020,877, a 3.9-percent decrease from the 2008 total of $31,231,991.  On-track wagering for the entire Kentucky Oaks card was $10,475,352, a decrease of 6.6 percent from the $11,217,756 wagered by patrons at Churchill Downs during the previous year.  Off-track wagering on the Kentucky Oaks card was $19,545,525, a 2.3-percent decrease over the 2008 figure of $20,014,235.

Total wagering from all sources on the Kentucky Oaks race, America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, was $6,839,926, a 25.2-percent decrease over the $9,138,950 wagered on the Kentucky Oaks race in 2008.  The 2009 race featured a seven-horse field with an overwhelming favorite, versus a 10-horse field in 2008 without a prohibitive betting choice.

“We are extremely pleased with how the fans, especially our Louisville community, turned out for the 135th running of the Kentucky Oaks,” said Churchill Downs Incorporated Chief Operating Officer Bill Carstanjen.  “We fielded a solid card that delivered strong handle figures in a very tough economy.  With an incredible horse in Rachel Alexandra established as the heavy favorite in Kentucky Oaks 135, we expected handle to be down on that race – but fortunately, the rest of the card held up well as our fans turned out in force.  We were thrilled with the coverage of the Kentucky Oaks on NBC’s sister cable network, Bravo, and by our fans’ support of the “pink out” we conducted with our partner, Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  We were also glad to welcome back customers around the country who wagered on the Kentucky Oaks Day card through national advance-deposit wagering companies such as TwinSpires.com.”

Churchill Downs returned $24,453,120 to bettors, which amounts to 81.5 percent of total wagering.  The Commonwealth of Kentucky received $382,205 in revenues generated through the state’s excise tax on pari-mutuel wagering.

Rachel Alexandra’s spectacular victory in Kentucky Oaks 135 gave owners L and M Partners LLC, trainer Hal Wiggins and jockey Calvin Borel their first garland of lilies.  Rachel Alexandra extended her winning streak to five and returned $2.60 on a $2 wager as the 3-10 betting choice.  The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro completed the 1 1/8-mile distance over a “fast” track in 1:48.87.

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875.  Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009. The track’s 2009 Spring Meet is underway and continues through July 5. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on November 5 and 6, 2010.  Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.

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