05/05/2008 11:00PM

Churchill quarter profitable


Churchill Downs Inc. had net income of $742,000 in the first quarter of 2008, compared with a net loss of $8.2 million in the first quarter of 2007, according to financial statements released Tuesday.

The reversal was largely because of a $17 million insurance payment for damage sustained to Fair Grounds Race Course because of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Churchill officials also cited a total of $14.3 million in new revenue from its account-wagering platform, twinspires.com, and its data businesses. The account-wagering service was launched in the second quarter of last year.

Total revenue in the quarter was $65.7 million, up 37.5 percent from $47.8 million in the first quarter of 2007. Half - $32.9 million - was generated by the company's parimutuel and slot-machine operations in Louisiana.

In a release, Churchill said that handle through twinspires.com was $61.7 million in the quarter. After its launch, that service was merged with three other account-wagering companies that Churchill bought last year. During the first quarter last year, those three account-wagering companies - which did business as AmericaTab - had handle of $64.4 million, according to the Oregon Racing Commission.