05/05/2004 12:00AM

Churchill even on quarter

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Churchill Downs Inc. lost $11.7 million in the first quarter of 2004, or 89 cents per share, roughly identical to the company's net loss of $11.5 million in the first quarter of 2003.

The net loss came on revenue of $37.7 million, compared with revenue of $35.7 million in 2003. Operating expenses in the first quarter of this year were $47.5 million, compared with operating expenses of $45.5 million in 2003.

Churchill has traditionally posted a net loss in the first quarter. The company's six racetracks hold very few live racing days during the first three months of the year.

Churchill officials said that expenses were higher this year because of its legislative efforts to get expanded gambling passed in Kentucky and some expenses related to a $121 million renovation of Churchill Downs. Revenue was higher because of more simulcast days at Churchill-owned Arlington Park in Illinois.