Always Dreaming Wins the 143rd Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands in Front of 158,070 Fans

Highest all-time wagering from all-sources on both the Kentucky Derby Day program and the Kentucky Derby race

LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Derby fans weathered rainstorms and the unseasonal cold during the day, to watch post-time favorite Always Dreaming win the 143rd Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands over a sloppy track. Attendance of 158,070, was the seventh highest attendance figure in track history.   

Wagering from all-sources was the highest all-time on both the Kentucky Derby Day program and on the Kentucky Derby race.

Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $209.2 million, a 9% increase over the 2016 total of $192.6 million, and an increase of 8% over the previous record set in 2015 of $194.3 million.  Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race increased 12% to $139.2 million from 2016’s $124.7 million and a 1% increase over the previous record set in 2015 of $137.9 million.

“Congratulations to the connections of Always Dreaming on a very impressive performance to win the 143rd Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack.  “We were excited to introduce our latest round of renovations and our investments in the facility continue to pay off as we strive to improve the guest experience every year. Thanks and congratulations to our horsemen, employees and volunteers that made this an amazing Derby and a phenomenal opening to our 2017 Spring Meet.”   

“A heartfelt thanks from all of us at Churchill Downs to all of the fans of the Kentucky Derby around the world who once again made this an amazing spectacle rain or shine,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”).  “We expect another Adjusted EBITDA record with growth of $4.0-to-$6.0 million over last year’s Kentucky Derby week.”

TwinSpires, the country’s leading online and mobile betting platform and the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, recorded $32.8 million in handle on Churchill Downs races for the Kentucky Derby Day program, an increase of 22% over the prior year. TwinSpires’ handle on the Kentucky Derby alone race was $20.1 million, up 22% over 2016.

All-sources handle for Opening Night, Saturday, April 29, through Derby Day, Saturday, May 6, rose to a new record of $285.1 million, up 7% from 2016’s previous record. Attendance for those five days was 349,455, down 7% from the previous record set in 2016.

Always Dreaming, owned by MeB Racing Stables, Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Stables, St. Elias Stables, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds, and bred in Kentucky by Santa Rosa Partners, cruised to win by three lengths as the 9-2 favorite, returning $11.40 for each $2 win wager.  Trainer Todd Pletcher won the Kentucky Derby for the second time.  His first win was with Super Saver in 2010.  Jockey John Velazquez also won the Kentucky Derby for the second time, winning previously on Animal Kingdom in 2011.  The winner covered 1 ¼ miles over a sloppy track in 2:03:59 to win for the fourth time in six career starts. Always Dreaming is by Bodemeister out of the In Excess mare Above Perfection.  Lookin at Lee finished second and Battle of Midway finished third.

In addition to the results provided in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), the Company also uses non-GAAP measures, including EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and Adjusted EBITDA as described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Adjusted EBITDA”).

Adjusted EBITDA includes CDI's portion of the EBITDA from our equity investments.

Adjusted EBITDA excludes:

  • Acquisition expense, net which includes:

     – Acquisition-related charges, including fair value adjustments related to earnouts and deferred payments; and,

     – Transaction expense, including legal, accounting, and other deal-related expense

  • Stock-based compensation expense;

  • Gain on Calder land sale;

  • Calder exit costs; and,

  • Other charges and recoveries

The Company uses Adjusted EBITDA as a key performance measure of the results of operations for purposes of evaluating performance internally. The measure facilitates comparison of operating performance between periods and helps investors to better understand the operating results of CDI by excluding certain items that may not be indicative of CDI’s core business or operating results. CDI believes the use of this measure enables management and investors to evaluate and compare, from period to period, CDI’s operating performance in a meaningful and consistent manner. Adjusted EBITDA is a supplemental measure of our performance that is not required by or presented in accordance with GAAP and should not be considered as an alternative to, or more meaningful than, net income (as determined in accordance with GAAP) as a measure of our operating results.

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 offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. The track’s 2017 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 29 – June 30-. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships eight times and will host the event for a ninth time in 2018 tying Churchill Downs with Santa Anita Park in California for the most ever held at one venue. Information about Churchill Downs can be found online at

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (NASDAQ:CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is an industry-leading racing, gaming and online entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event - The Kentucky Derby.  We are a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 10,070 gaming positions in eight states, and we are the largest legal online account wagering platform for horseracing in the U.S., through our ownership of We are also one of the world's largest producers and distributors of mobile games through Big Fish Games, Inc. Additional information about CDI can be found online at

Information set forth in this news release contains various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”) provides certain “safe harbor” provisions for forward-looking statements.  All forward-looking statements made in this press release are made pursuant to the Act.

The reader is cautioned that such forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time and/or management’s good faith belief with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements.  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statement was made.  We assume no obligation to update forward-looking information to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking information.  Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “will,” and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct.  Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include the following: the effect of global economic conditions, a decrease in consumers’ discretionary income; additional or increased taxes and fees; public perceptions of integrity or other lack of confidence in our business;  loss of key or highly skilled personnel; restrictions in our debt facilities limiting our flexibility to operate our business; general risks related to real estate ownership, including fluctuations in market values and environmental regulations; catastrophic events and system failures disrupting our operations, including the impact of natural and other disasters on our operations and our ability to obtain insurance recoveries in respect of such losses; inability to identify and complete acquisition, expansion or divestiture projects on time, on budget or as planned; difficulty in integrating recent or future acquisitions into our operations; legalization of online real money gaming in the United States, and our ability to capitalize on and predict such legalization; inability to respond to rapid technological changes in a timely manner; adverse infringement of the intellectual property of others; inability to protect our own intellectual property rights; security breaches and other security risks related to our technology, personal information, source code and other proprietary information, including failure to comply with regulations and other legal obligations relating to receiving, processing, storing and using person information; payment-related risks, such as chargebacks for fraudulent credit card use; compliance with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or applicable money-laundering regulations; work stoppages and labor issues; difficulty in attracting sufficient number of horses and trainers for full field horseraces; inability to negotiate agreements with industry constituents, including horsemen and other racetracks; personal injury litigation related to injuries occurring at our racetracks; the inability of our totalisator company, United Tote, to maintain its processes accurately, keep its technology current or maintain its significant customers; weather conditions affecting our ability to conduct live racing; increased competition in the horseracing business; changes in the regulatory environment of our racing operations; declining popularity in horseracing; seasonal fluctuations in our horseracing business due to geographic concentration of our operations; increased competition in our casino business; changes in regulatory environment of our casino business; development and expansion of casinos is costly and susceptible to delays, cost overruns and other uncertainties; concentration and evolution of slot machine manufacturing and other technology conditions that could impose additional costs; impact of further legislation prohibiting tobacco smoking; geographic concentration of our casino business; changes in regulatory environment for our advanced deposit wagering business; increase in competition in the advanced deposit wagering business; inability to retain current customers or attract new customers to our advanced deposit wagering business; uncertainty and changes in the legal landscape relating to our advanced deposit wagering business; failing to comply with laws requiring us to block access to certain individuals could result in penalties or impairment in our ability to offer advanced deposit wagering; operating in an evolving and highly competitive market related to our Big Fish Games; inability to maintain relationships with third party mobile platforms related to our Big Fish Games; failure to develop and publish mobile games that achieve market acceptance; inability to secure new or ongoing content from third party development partners on favorable terms; programming errors or flaws or other technical difficulties, diminishing our customers’ experience; “cheating” programs, scam offers, black-markets and other actions by third parties that seek to exploit our games and players may affect our reputation and harm our operating results; slower than expected growth in use of smartphone and tablet devices to facilitate game platforms; and financial volatility quarter-to-quarter relating to our Big Fish Games.


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