05/06/2009 12:00AM

CDI has losing first quarter


Churchill Downs Inc. lost $4.8 million in the first quarter this year, a sharp reversal from first-quarter results in 2008 when the company benefited from a $17.8 million payout from insurance companies, according to financial statements released on Wednesday.

The $4.8 million loss is more in line with Churchill's typical first-quarter performance than the $742,000 profit Churchill posted in the first-quarter last year. Only one of the four tracks operated by Churchill, Fair Grounds in New Orleans, hosts a meaningful number of live racing days during the quarter, and the insurance payment positively skewed last year's results.

Total revenue for the quarter in 2008 was up 12 percent, from $65.7 million to $73.7 million, largely due to a $4.4 million increase in revenue from slot-machine operations at Fair Grounds and a $2.5 million gain in revenue from Churchill's account-wagering platform, twinspires.com. The company opened a permanent facility for slot machines at Fair Grounds in November last year, and had previously been operating the machines out of a temporary space.

Revenue from racing operations at Churchill's tracks was down with the exception of Arlington Park in Chicago, which recorded a $4.5 million one-time payment for source-market fees that had previously been held in escrow.

Racing revenues at Calder was down 25 percent in the quarter, from $2.92 million to $2.18 million; racing revenue at Churchill was down 16 percent, from $2.46 million to $2.07 million; and racing revenues at Fair Grounds declined 9 percent, from $20.4 million to $18.7 million.