05/04/2010 11:00PM

Churchill posts first-quarter loss

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Churchill Downs Inc. lost $8.4 million on continuing operations in the first quarter of 2010, according to financial statements released late Monday, compared with a loss of $5.1 million in the first quarter of last year.

Churchill is one of the most financially stable racing companies in the United States, but the company typically operates at a loss in the first quarter because its four racing properties do not conduct live racing operations in the quarter.

Last year during the first quarter, Churchill received a wagering-related settlement from its operations at Arlington Park near Chicago of $2.1 million, a payment that the company did not receive this year. The payment accounted for a large portion of the wider loss between the first quarter this year and the first quarter last year.

In addition, Churchill said that it had $1.1 million in expenses related to its pending acquisition of Youbet.com, the account-wagering company that also owns a bet-processing company, during the quarter. Churchill reached an agreement to buy the company late last year. The transaction, which would make Churchill the largest account-wagering company in the United States, is still being reviewed by government regulators.

Revenue during the quarter was $75.1 million, according to the financial statements, a 1.9 percent increase compared with revenue of $73.7 million during last year's first quarter. Operating expenses were up 10.8 percent, however, from $70.3 million to $77.9 million, while administrative expenses increased 7.2 percent, from $12.5 million to $13.4 million.

Revenue from Churchill's slot-machine operations at Calder Race Course in South Florida and Fair Grounds in New Orleans totaled $26.3 million, compared with $17.9 million in the first quarter of last year, up 46.9 percent. The Calder casino opened in late January and incurred $1.1 million in pre-opening costs.

Churchill's account-wagering company, Twinspires.com, had revenue of $18 million, up 7.8 percent during the first quarter of last year.