As it engages ongoing competitive challenges that include gaming-enhanced purses at other racetracks and continued growth of casino competition in its home region, Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) has announced a reduction in purses that will affect four races scheduled during the eight days remaining in the 25-day Fall Meet that continues through Saturday, Nov. 30.
The adjustments included a purse reduction of $25,000 each for a pair of stakes races scheduled for Nov. 30. The Kentucky Jockey Club (Grade II) and the Golden Rod (GII) – the co-featured events on the second of the Fall Meet’s popular “Stars of Tomorrow” programs devoted to racing among 2-year-olds – now carry a purse of $150,000-added, respectively.
Rather than reduce purses for all overnight races offered during the remaining days of the meet, Churchill Downs officials have opted to eliminate one race each on two of the remaining racing days. The races will be dropped from the programs scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 24, and Wednesday, Nov. 27. Each of those racing cards will now consist of nine races.
The historic home of the Kentucky Derby has worked to counter expanded competition in its market since late 1998, when an Indiana casino launched its operations only minutes from the track. As regional casino competition has grown and matured, Churchill Downs’ competitive challenges expanded to include racetracks in its border states and throughout North America that benefit from race purses bolstered by gaming revenues.
The gaming-fed supplements to purses at competing tracks have placed added pressure on Churchill Downs’ daily racing product. Those tracks and their enhanced purses have lured horses and stables from Churchill Downs and Kentucky racing, resulting in declines in the track’s purses and average horses-per-race.