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Track reports strong wagering at Derby Day racing activities

BY BRUCE SCHREINER Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - All-sources wagering on this year's Kentucky Derby race card tied an all-time record while on-track wagering showed a double-digit surge as the world's most famous horse race proved a financial winner once again for the parent company of Churchill Downs racetrack.

Oaks Day wagering the day before the Derby provided a strong two-day performance for the famed track in Louisville, Kentucky. Wagering from all-sources came in close to all-time records for both the full Kentucky Oaks race card and on the Oaks race itself, the company said.

Churchill Downs Inc. Chairman and CEO Robert L. Evans predicted stronger profit growth from Derby week compared to a year ago.

"Kentucky Oaks and Derby week continue to be significant drivers of the company's growth performance," Evans said.

The performance reaffirmed the Derby's status as a "high-quality and growing annuity" for the Louisville-based company, according to an investors' note Monday by Wells Fargo Securities analysts Cameron McKnight and Rich Cummings.

California Chrome won the Run for the Roses on Saturday. The race drew a crowd of 164,906, the second-largest in the Derby's 140-year history. On-track wagering on the Derby race totaled $11.9 million, up 4 percent from a year ago, Churchill officials said. On-track wagering on the entire Derby Day race program reached $23.4 million, an 11 percent increase from 2013, they said.

Wagering from all-sources on the Derby race card totaled $186.6 million, up 1 percent from a year ago and tying the record set in 2012, Churchill said.

All-sources wagering on the Derby race declined 1 percent to $129.2 million.

Churchill said it returned $147.8 million to bettors, amounting to 79 percent of total wagering on the Derby Day race card. Meanwhile, wagering from all-sources on the full Kentucky Oaks Day race card totaled $43.2 million, down 5.7 percent from last year. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race fell 1.9 percent to $14.1 million.

from last year's record $14.4 million, Churchill said.

Oaks Day drew a crowd of 113,071, third highest in the Oaks' 140-year history.

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