05/08/2006 11:00PM

Churchill has $10.3M loss

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Churchill Downs Inc., the owner of six racetracks, lost $10.3 million in the first three months of 2006, according to financial documents released late Tuesday, a $3.6 million improvement over its first-quarter results in 2005.

Churchill typically records a loss in the first quarter of every year because the company's racetracks do not hold many live racing days during the winter.

Last year's loss during the first quarter was $13.9 million, but Churchill spent $2.8 million in that quarter on legislative expenses in Florida associated with the company's unsuccessful effort to get a referendum passed to legalize slot machines at its Calder Race Course. Churchill did not incur legislative expenses in Florida in the first quarter this year.

Revenue in the quarter was $45.0 million, compared with $51.9 million in the first quarter of 2005. Revenue was down partially because Churchill did not run a live race meet at its New Orleans racetrack, Fair Grounds, because of the impact of Hurricane Katrina, and instead ran a short meet at Louisiana Downs. In 2005, Fair Grounds had 61 live racing days during the first quarter. In 2006, the meet at Louisiana Downs offered 12.