05/07/2007 11:00PM

Churchill posts first-quarter loss

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Churchill Downs Inc., the owner of four racetracks in the United States, had a net loss of $8.2 million in the first quarter of 2007, or 61 cents per share, an improvement of $2.1 million from a $10.3 million net loss in the first quarter of 2006, according to financial documents released on Tuesday.

Revenue in the quarter was up 32.6 percent, from $36.1 million in the first quarter of 2006 to $47.8 million in the first quarter of 2007. During the quarter, Churchill had revenue of $29.5 million from its Louisiana operations, an increase of $12.4 million over the first quarter last year, according to the financial statements.

Last year in the first quarter, Churchill held 12 days of live racing at Louisiana Downs, which is owned by Harrah's, while Churchill's racetrack, Fair Grounds, was being refurbished after the flooding of New Orleans. This year, Fair Grounds reopened, and Churchill held 57 days of live racing during the quarter there.

Churchill typically loses money in the first quarter each year. Of the company's four tracks, only Fair Grounds operates a live race meet during the quarter. Churchill also owns Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Calder Race Course in Miami, and Arlington Park outside Chicago.