It was a record-breaking 141st running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs Racetrack which culminated as 123,763 fans, the highest attendance of all time, watched a memorable win by Lovely Maria. The prior attendance record was 116,046, set in 2010, during the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks.
Wagering from all-sources was the highest all-time on both the full 12-race Kentucky Oaks Day card and on the Kentucky Oaks race. On-track wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race also set a record.
Wagering from all-sources on the full 12-race Kentucky Oaks Day race card totaled $46.1 million, an increase of 7% from the 2014 total of $43.2 million, and a 1% increase over the prior record set in 2013. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race rose 8% to $15.2 million from 2014’s $14.1 million, and a 6% increase over the prior record set in 2013.
On-track wagering on the Kentucky Oaks Day race card was $12.0 million, a 2% increase from 2014’s $11.8 million. On-track wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race set a new record of $3.1 million, a 5% increase from 2014’s $3.0 million and a 2% increase over the previous record in 2013.
TRACK PRESIDENT COMMENTARY
“Our congratulations to the connections of our newest Kentucky Oaks champion, Lovely Maria, and to all of the horse owners, trainers and jockeys who participated in today’s race,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “The Kentucky Oaks has grown to become one of the most prominent horseraces in America attracting a high-quality field with gifted equine and human athletes. With today’s attendance, the Kentucky Oaks now ranks as the second highest attended racing event in America, only behind the Kentucky Derby.”
For the seventh year running, Churchill Downs continued its ‘Pink Out’ tradition in support of two cancer-related charities - Bright Pink and Horses & Hope - during the celebration of the 141st running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks.
CDI’s Foundation donated $50,000 to benefit Bright Pink®, a national non-profit focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. Churchill Downs also continued a seven-year fundraising partnership with Horses and Hope, a breast cancer outreach program in Kentucky’s horse industry championed by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear. Churchill Downs will donate $1 from each Friday sale of the Grey Goose Oaks Lily®, the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, to Horses and Hope.
141 cancer survivors participated in the Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade Presented by Kroger with supporting sponsor Kindred Healthcare with a march along Churchill Downs’ historic homestretch immediately prior to the running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks.
Marylou Whitney, whose accomplishments and generosity in the worlds of Thoroughbred racing and philanthropy have garnered national acclaim and admiration for decades, served as the “First Lady of the Oaks,” a tradition of the Kentucky Oaks since 2009. The honoree is a special individual who has celebrated women’s causes through professional and personal experiences.
Lovely Maria, owned by Brereton C. Jones and bred by Olin B. Gentry and Thomas B. Gaines, rolled to a 2 ¾ length victory in the Longines Kentucky Oaks as the 6-1 fifth choice. Jockey Kerwin Clark won the race for the first time and trainer Larry Jones scored his third Oaks victory. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Majesticperfection was the third Longines Kentucky Oaks winner owned by Brereton C. Jones and returned $14.60 for a $2 wager.
The winner covered 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:50/45 as she won for the fourth time in eight career starts. The Longines Kentucky Oaks was her first start at Churchill Downs. The winner’s purse of $564,200 increased Lovely Maria’s career earnings to $966,800.
ABOUT CHURCHILL DOWNS RACETRACK
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: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. The 2014 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs is scheduled for April 26-June 29. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.ChurchillDowns.com.
ABOUT CHURCHILL DOWNS INCORPORATED
Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (NASDAQ: CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns the world-renowned Churchill Downs Racetrack, home of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, as well as racetrack and casino operations in Miami Gardens, Fla.; racetrack, casino and video poker operations in New Orleans, La.; racetrack operations in Arlington Heights, Ill.; a casino resort in Greenville, Miss.; a casino hotel in Vicksburg, Miss.; a casino in Oxford, Maine; and a 50 percent owned joint venture, Miami Valley Gaming and Racing LLC, in Lebanon, Ohio. CDI also owns Big Fish Games, Inc., one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of casual games; the country's premier online wagering company, TwinSpires.com; the totalisator company, United Tote; Bluff Media, an Atlanta-based multimedia poker company; and a collection of racing-related telecommunications and data companies. Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.