03/29/2007 11:00PM

Churchill account-wagering service near


Churchill Downs Inc. plans to launch its new account-wagering service by the end of April, just days before the company's flagship track will host the Kentucky Derby, the most-bet race of the year, Churchill announced on Friday.

The service, twinspires.com, will accept bets on all the tracks owned by Churchill Downs and Magna Entertainment Corp. that are not currently under contract to Television Games Network. The account-wagering service will also seek deals with other racetracks for their signals, the two companies have said.

The hub for the account-wagering service will be in Oregon, where a number of account-wagering companies are located. Churchill received approval for the hub from Oregon regulators earlier this week, according to A Churchill spokeswoman, Julie Koenig Loignon.

Koenig Loignon said that Churchill's signal will be available on twinspires.com and on XpressBet, Magna's account-wagering service, and that the company is in negotiations with other account-wagering operations to carry it.

"Our intent is to make the signal available on other services, but we are not ready to announce any agreements yet," Koenig Loignon said.

Churchill announced the launch of the service earlier this year, in partnership with Magna Entertainment. The two companies own more than a dozen tracks, including Churchill Downs, Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder Race Course, Arlington Park, and Fair Grounds Racecourse.

An exact launch date has not yet been determined, Churchill said in the announcement, but will be announced within the next two weeks. Churchill's spring meet begins on April 28.

The Kentucky Derby, which last year drew a record $118.4 million in wagers, will be held this year on May 5. The race generates more betting than any other race in the country. Last year, the 12-race Derby card drew a record $179 million in bets, also a record for one race card.