Churchill Struggling

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 6, 2009 in General Discussion, News | 5 Comments >>

Churchill Downs will have only eight races tomorrow because of a lack of entries for the scheduled ninth race.

The track still has its scheduled complement of 10 races for Friday, but the first four races that day have only six horses each, and the feature has only five betting interests because of a coupled entry.

The average number of betting interests for Friday is 7.4, with three fields having coupled entries.

“The reality is we’re having some difficulty filling some of the races,” Churchill Downs Inc. spokesman Kevin Flanery said. “We’re now experiencing what other tracks around the state have experienced. Horses that traditionally ship in to run at our races can run at tracks in the region that have slots-fed purses such as Mountaineer, Presque Isle. They can run for purses just as rewarding and high as they are at Churchill and with less competition.”

Asked whether Churchill might go to fewer daily races if this is an ongoing problem, Flanery said: “All options are on the table. We’re going to try to do everything we can to fill the cards. But we’re also realistic about what the competitive landscape looks like. …. The very small, five-horse fields are not entertaining and competitive in the national market.”