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Big Brown wins Kentucky Derby

5 May 2008

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The largest Kentucky Derby crowd of the 21st century gathered under the historic Twin Spires to watch undefeated Derby favorite Big Brown power through the stretch and dominate a full field of 20 horses in the Grade I Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.

The attendance mark of 157,770 was the second largest in Kentucky Derby history and trails only the crowd of 163,628 that witnessed Cannonade win the centennial Derby in 1974. It is the seventh time in 10 years that Kentucky Derby Day attendance has topped 150,000.

Total wagering from all sources on the Kentucky Derby race, which includes on-track and off-track wagers was $114,557,364, down 3.2 percent from the 2007 all-sources total of $118,317,714. On-track wagering for America's greatest race totaled $12,118,527, an increase of 0.3 percent compared to the $12,076,490 wagered on the Kentucky Derby race in 2007. Off-track wagering on the Kentucky Derby race was 102,438,837, a decrease of 3.6 percent compared to the $106,241,224 wagered by fans through simulcast-wagering centers and advanced-deposit wagering ("ADW") services around the country one year ago.

Total wagering from all sources on the 12-race Kentucky Derby Day card at Churchill Downs was $164,668,176, a decline of 2.0 percent from the $168,018,982 wagered on the 12-race Kentucky Derby 134 racing program. On-track wagering on the Kentucky Derby Day card was $24,275,864, an increase of 0.9 percent from the $24,065,098 wagered by on-track fans one year ago. Off-track wagering on the Kentucky Derby Day program was $140,392,312, a dip of 2.5 percent from the $143,953,884 wagered by fans around the country in 2007.

Churchill Downs President Steve Sexton said off-track wagering totals were affected by the fact that tens of thousands of ADW customers could only bet on the Kentucky Derby race and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic because Kentucky horsemen would not permit ADW wagering via TwinSpires.com and Xpressbet.com on the full Kentucky Derby Day card. Additionally, fewer Florida pari-mutuel facilities could wager on the entire Derby Day card due to an ongoing dispute with Florida horsemen. "The strength of this year's Kentucky Derby Day racing program was evident in our on-track results with increases in both on-track wagering and attendance," Sexton noted. "It is unfortunate that horsemen in Kentucky and Florida prevented so many fans from enjoying a full day of wagering on Churchill Downs' races. Had more ADW and Florida customers been given an opportunity to participate, we could have seen a record day.

"Despite these challenges, the Churchill Downs team put on an exceptional day that included the successful launch of several new Derby innovations, including an outstanding Red Carpet program, our chief party officer promotion that was a hit with the fans and the media, and our new Derby Super Hi-5 wager that generated a $331,928 carryover pool. Race fans also generated a Pick 6 carryover pool of $410,598, so while Kentucky Derby weekend may be over for another year, fans returning to Churchill Downs for our next day of racing – Wednesday, May 7 – have another chance to enjoy a big dose of 'winnertainment'."

Kentucky Derby Day attendance increased at Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville off-track betting facility, where 9,547 race fans wagered on the Kentucky Derby Day card, an increase of 2.2 percent compared to the 9,339 patrons who spent Kentucky Derby 133 at Trackside Louisville.

Wagering on the Kentucky Derby race at Trackside totaled 1,249,941, a slight decline of 0.2 percent from the 2007 total of $1,252,230. A total of $1,905,396 was wagered on the Kentucky Derby Day racing program at Trackside Louisville, an increase of 1.6 percent from the 2007 total of $1,876,257.

Trackside Louisville attendance and wagering figures are not included in on-track attendance and wagering figures for Churchill Downs racetrack.

Churchill Downs returned $134,418,750 to bettors on the Kentucky Derby Day race card, which amounts to 82 percent of total wagering. In 2007, bettors took home a total of $137,752,898, or 82 percent of total wagering. The Commonwealth of Kentucky benefited from $906,817 in revenues generated through the state's excise tax on pari-mutuel wagering. In 2007, the Kentucky Derby Day race card contributed $898,566 to the state through the pari-mutuel excise tax. The approximate contribution to purses from wagering on the 2008 Kentucky Derby Day race card was $6,883,130, compared to $7,030,661 one year ago.

 
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