Fair Grounds Applies for 2006-2007 Racing Dates

Meet Would Mark Return to Racing in Crescent City

Fair Grounds Race Course has applied to the Louisiana State Racing Commission to host an 81-day meet in 2006-2007 at its facility on Gentilly Boulevard, President and General Manager Randy Soth announced today.

If approved, the meet would be the first live racing to be conducted at Fair Grounds since Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage to the facility and the city of New Orleans last August 29. The application, which was filed Thursday, is expected to be considered by the LSRC at its April 24 meeting in New Orleans.

The proposed schedule for Fair Grounds’ 135th season of racing begins, as is tradition, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 2006, and concludes March 25, 2007. Racing would be conducted each Thursday through Sunday, with Mondays added in January and February. No designation of major events and stakes races, including the Louisiana Derby, has been made on the application. Fair Grounds officials anticipate a formal announcement regarding the 2006-2007 racing season following the LSRC’s formal approval of the track’s race dates application.

After Katrina ravaged the central Gulf Coast, Fair Grounds was forced to relocate its 2005-2006 meet to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La. Because of the extraordinary circumstances, state regulators approved an abbreviated 37-day meet, which was conducted from Nov. 19 through Jan. 22.

Repairs have been ongoing at Fair Grounds since the fall. The roof of the grandstand and clubhouse was completed March 31 and power was restored to the building last week. Backstretch maintenance, including repair and replacement of roofs, doors and stalls, is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2006-2007 meet.

The first event scheduled to be held at Fair Grounds since Katrina is the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which begins April 28.

With restoration of the facility under way, the next challenge for Fair Grounds is the same of virtually every business in the New Orleans area – securing the services of several hundred employees to work at the live meet.

Fair Grounds Race Course, the nation’s third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) and also operates off-track betting parlors in southeast Louisiana. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at