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2003 Calder Meet Highlighted by Off-Track Attractions

31 October 2003

MIAMI, Florida – (Press Release) -- The 128-day Calder Meet came to a close on Friday, Oct. 24, showing declines in overall attendance and wagering, but the track's two marquee events -- the Summit of Speed and Festival of the Sun -- once again proved to be successful attractions both on- and off-track.

On-track attendance for the 128 live days totaled 597,648 (daily average of 4,669), a 4.2-percent decrease from last year's daily average. Special event days, however, attracted above-average crowds and higher wagering. The fourth annual Summit of Speed, held on July 12, handled $10,541,440, Calder's all-time total handle record. The event drew 10,760 fans on-track, the highest in the event's history. Cajun Beat and Shake You Down, both who competed in the Summit, came back to finish first and third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, just as last year when Summit participants Orientate and Crafty C.T. won and showed at the Breeders' Cup at Arlington Park.

The Festival of the Sun, now in its 12th year, posted impressive numbers despite the fact that Calder's major league baseball neighbors, the Florida Marlins, were at the height of the National League Championship Series the same week. The Festival, held on Oct. 11, still drew a crowd of 14,846 while the Marlins faced the Chicago Cubs next door at Pro Player Stadium that evening. Total handle on the Festival of the Sun was $7,707,125. Two-year- old Sir Oscar completed a sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes when he won the In Reality Division, one of eight stakes that day.

As a summary, daily average on-track handle on the live product was $397,359, down 6.8 percent from last year; daily average combined ITW (inter- track wagering) and ISW (inter-state wagering) was $2,965,340, down 4.6 percent, and the combined daily average handle was $3,362,699, down 4.9 percent from the 2002 meet. The daily average of total handle (all sources on all days) was $3,868,751, down 3.0 percent from 2002. (Please refer to the comparison sheet for totals.)

Factors possibly causing the downturn in business include a statewide ban on indoor smoking (the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act) that went into effect on July 1; added competition from card rooms, which received a boost this summer when pot limits were raised; a substantial loss of turf races due to frequent and heavy summer rains; and overall economic conditions. Calder Race Course, located on South Florida's Miami-Dade / Broward county line, offers Thoroughbred horse racing and wholecard simulcasting during two consecutive meets. The track is home of the Summit of Speed and the Festival of the Sun. A wholly owned property of Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), Calder also operates the Tropical at Calder Meet. In 2003, the Calder Meet runs from April 25 through October 24 and the Tropical at Calder Meet runs from Oct. 25 through Jan. 2, 2004.

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