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Churchill Downs Incorporated Launches Official 2005 Kentucky Derby/Oaks Web Sites
Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI” or “Company”) (NASDAQ: CHDN) today launched the official 2005 Kentucky Derby Web site, www.kentuckyderby.com, and 2005 Kentucky Oaks Web site, www.kentuckyoaks.com. The new and improved sites offer the most comprehensive coverage of the “Run for the Roses” and its sister race, the Kentucky Oaks.
The sites feature exclusive articles, news updates, famous Derby stretch calls, Web cam views of the racetrack, videos of celebrities’ Derby and Oaks selections and a wealth of information about the contending horses, including past performance information as well as archived videos of Derby and Oaks prep races that fans can view free of charge. The redesigned portals also present the events’ sights and sounds in a manner that conveys the excitement and pageantry of the Derby weekend.
“We set out to complement our site’s unparalleled content with elements that would elicit the ‘feel’ of these very unique events,” said Jeremy Borseth, CDI’s director of Internet services. “The new sites, from the breathtaking multi-media homepage to the revamped Derby and Oaks experience sections, add a ‘goose bump’ factor that makes the Web sites that much closer to the real thing.
“More than ever before,” Borseth continued, “these sites are the only online destinations fans will need to enjoy the exciting build-up to the Derby and Oaks and the true flavor of the events. We incorporated our customers’ feedback and added rich media to deliver a more effective and enjoyable online customer experience. Fans are a single click away from a Derby and Oaks immersion that delivers the events’ histories, free contests, the latest handicapping data, imagery and information on the many related festivities, and a storefront with official Derby and Oaks merchandise available for sale.”
Kentuckyderby.com and Kentuckyoaks.com information is presented in parallel formats featuring four major sections designed for racing fans of every age and sophistication. The “coverage” portion features snapshots of race contenders, Derby or Oaks news, daily updates from around the racetrack - including on-site videos of morning workouts and trainer interviews - and real-time odds on the popular Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Future Wagers. Handicappers of all skill levels will also appreciate the top selections from Las Vegas handicapping expert Roxy Roxborough as well as favorite picks from CDSN handicappers such as John Asher, Jill Byrne, Steve Fugitte and Mark Hoard. Debuting this year is a section on wagering designed for fans new to the sport.
The respective “history” segments give visitors a taste of Derby and Oaks lore with informative race timelines, a collection of charts and statistics from all 130 events, information on the winners’ connections, and sections on African Americans and women that played prominent roles in the two races.
The “experience” section brings to life the essence of Derby and Oaks with extensive photo galleries and information on the traditions that make the events a real slice of Americana, including the Garland of Roses (and Lilies for the Oaks), Mint Juleps, Derby hats, the Twin Spires, the infield, Millionaire’s Row and much more. Back this year are two popular online features - Web cams that give viewers a live peek inside Churchill Downs and the colorful Derby and Oaks Day festivities and streaming video of celebrities’ Derby and Oaks picks.
The site’s fourth section is the online home of the “Derby Store,” where fans can find officially licensed Kentucky Derby 131 and Kentucky Oaks 131 apparel and souvenirs.
Last year, Kentuckyderby.com site registered more than 1.4 million unique visitors on Derby Day, an increase of 70 percent from the number of unique visitors on Derby Day of 2003. These visitors accounted for more than 4.2 million page views on Derby day and over 11 million page views during Derby week. Site traffic has grown substantially since the first Derby Web site was launched in 1999.
Kentuckyderby.com and Kentuckyoaks.com are the official Web sites of their respective events and are owned and operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated. As one of the world’s premier sporting events and the first leg of horse racing’s Visa Triple Crown Challenge, the Kentucky Derby traditionally take place on the first Saturday in May. The 131st running of this celebrated event is scheduled for May 7, 2005, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Approximately 150,000 people attend the Derby in person, with more than 20 million people tuning in via television and radio worldwide. The Kentucky Oaks is traditionally held the day prior to the Kentucky Derby and has an average attendance of approximately 100,000. The 131st running of the Oaks will be held on May 6, 2005.
Churchill Downs Incorporated, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates world-renowned horse racing venues throughout the United States. The Company's seven racetracks in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisiana host 122 graded-stakes events and many of North America's most prestigious races, including the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, Hollywood Gold Cup and Arlington Million. CDI racetracks have hosted nine Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships - more than any other North American racing company. CDI also owns off-track betting facilities and has interests in various television production, telecommunications and racing services companies that support CDI's network of simulcasting and racing operations. CDI trades on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol CHDN and can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.