LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs Inc. has agreed to buy Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky, for $79 million in cash.
The deal announced Thursday with Enchantment Holdings LLC includes Churchill Downs assuming Ellis Park’s opportunity to build a track extension facility in Owensboro. The deal is subject to certain working capital and other purchase price adjustments, CDI said in a statement.
CDI has started planning to build Owensboro Racing & Gaming, a track extension and entertainment venue at that city’s Towne Square Mall. It will include 600 historical racing machines and a simulcast wagering center. CDI said it expects to invest an additional $75 million in Henderson and Daviess counties.
“We are very enthused to welcome Ellis Park to the Churchill Downs racing family,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI, the parent company of Churchill Downs, which is home to the Kentucky Derby.
Ellis Park, located just south of Evansville, Indiana, celebrated 100 years of racing this year. It runs a thoroughbred racing meet during the summer and has a gaming facility with 300 historical racing machines.
“Churchill Downs has proven it has the experience, resources, and desire to reinvigorate Ellis Park into a premier racing destination and provide unmatched gaming entertainment,” said Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.
The closing of the deal is contingent upon approval by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. If it is approved, the transaction is expected to close shortly thereafter.
Other tracks owned by CDI include Fair Grounds in New Orleans and Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky. CDI is selling Arlington Park outside of Chicago to the Chicago Bears in a deal that is expected to close next year.
CDI’s stock price closed at $199.65 a share, down 1.76%, on Thursday.