Vernon Niven to Leave Churchill Downs Incorporated

Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI” or “Company”) (NASDAQ: CHDN) announced today that Vernon Niven, who since October 2006 has served as executive vice president of CDI and president of, will be leaving the Company for personal reasons.  His departure will take place in June after the conclusion of the 2009 Triple Crown.
“I absolutely love what I’ve been doing at and Churchill Downs, but unexpected family obligations require that my family and I return to our home in Florida,” said Niven.  “We discussed various options under which I would continue with Churchill Downs and, but it’s neither realistic nor fair to the business and to our employees in Mountain View, Calif., Lexington, Ky., and Louisville, Ky., for me to try to do that from Florida.”
“Vernon was the first person I thought of and the first person I hired when we started in late 2006,” said Bob Evans, president and chief executive officer of CDI.  “His accomplishments with our Company are many.  He built the team and led the site’s launch in 2007, and he managed the integration of the AmericaTab (“ATAB”) and Bloodstock Research Information Systems (“BRIS”) acquisitions.  Vernon insisted upon maintaining the ATAB and BRIS “no fee” model for wagering customers and led the introduction of many innovative new features, including conditional wagering and the TwinSpires “Leaderboard” contest.  He also launched the Thoroughbred industry’s first Internet protocol TV network, TwinSpires TV, and was responsible for our investment in the HRTV network.  We have come a very long way in a very short time under Vernon’s leadership.  He will be missed both personally and professionally.”
“From the beginning, has been positioned as the go-to online wagering service for experienced players,” Niven said.  “Everything we’ve done has been driven by the simple concept of helping our players win, and they have rewarded us in turn through significant growth.  More than anything else, though, I am proud of the focus on constantly increasing our value to real players that permeates our and organizations.  I am confident that our teams will continue to make TwinSpires and BRIS the leading online destinations for serious handicappers.”
A search will be conducted to identify Niven’s successor.  Both internal and external candidates will be considered.
Churchill Downs Incorporated (“Churchill Downs”), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates world-renowned horse racing venues throughout the United States. Churchill Downs’ four racetracks in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and Louisiana host many of North America’s most prestigious races, including the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, Arlington Million, Princess Rooney Handicap and Louisiana Derby. Churchill Downs racetracks have hosted seven Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Churchill Downs also owns off-track betting facilities and has interests in various advance-deposit wagering, television production, telecommunications and racing services companies, including a 50-percent interest in the national cable and satellite network HorseRacing TV™, that support the Company’s network of simulcasting and racing operations. Churchill Downs trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol CHDN and can be found on the Internet at