(July 11, 2008) – Churchill Downs’ recently concluded Spring Meet was highlighted by memorable performances by equine stars such as “Horse of the Year” Curlin; Big Brown, the winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I); and Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Proud Spell, but it was also notable for the immediate success of the track’s Super Hi-5 wager and the introduction of a new “bundle” wager known as The Matrix.
The Super Hi-5, a $1 minimum wager introduced on the April 26 opening day of the meet, produced large mutuel payouts throughout the 52-day racing session that concluded on July 6. The Super Hi-5 required bettors to correctly select the first five finishers in the correct order of finish in a designated race. If there are no perfect tickets in a Super Hi-5, the race pool carries over to the next designated race. That aspect of the wager produced a massive carryover when the Super Hi-5 offered on the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby produced no winning ticket and carried over into a third day, generating a record pool of $2.15 million on May 8.
The record for a Super Hi-5 payout was established on June 25, when a single bettor collected $107,912 on a pool that had carried over one day.
For the Spring, the Super Hi-5 resulted in 89 instances in which an individual collected $20,000 or more for a winning Super Hi-5 bet and 107 instances in which winning tickets were worth $10,000 or more.
“The Super Hi-5 was quickly earned a reputation as a ‘go to’ bet for fans of every skill level who was looking for a way to win big and fast,” said Churchill Downs Vice President Tom Aronson, whose focus is developing new wagering products for the historic track. “It was a big hit on track and we were especially impressed with how carryovers generated enthusiasm in the simulcast marketplace. The Super Hi-5 outpaced our expectations from the start and it appears to have promptly become a fixture on the Churchill Downs wagering menu that can only continue to grow.”
The Matrix, racing’s first “bundle” bet, was limited to on-track distribution at Churchill Downs during a market test over the final month of the Spring Meet. The unique wager cost a minimum total of $9 and enabled bettors to name three horses on one ticket, which in turn provided them with 15 combinations featuring those three horses.
The package of wagers included the traditional win, exacta and trifecta wagers. If any of those horses won, two of them ran one-two, or the three selections ran 1-2-3, the player collected an increasing payout for the number of correct selections.
The track’s United Tote system fractionalized the total amount of the Matrix wager and placed an equal amount into the win, exacta and trifecta wagering pools. In the case of the $9 minimum wager, the system actually placed 60 cents on each of the 15 “bundled” bets. The Matrix is not a separate pool wager.
“The Matrix passed its initial market test as it attracted more than one percent of our betting handle from its first day,” said Aronson. “The test results showed us there is definitely a demand among our on-track patrons for new ways to package and price our bets. We’re taking a good, long look at the final numbers, but it certainly seems promising for The Matrix to make a return engagement in the fall.”
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 2008 Fall Meet is scheduled for Oct. 26-Nov. 25. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.