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Churchill, Saratoga To Buy Ocean Downs

Published: August 4, 2016 10:47 am ET

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For the second time this week, a harness racing track in the state of Maryland is changing hands.

Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (NASDAQ: CHDN) and Saratoga Casino Holdings, LLC (“SCH”) announced late Tuesday their joint venture to purchase all of the equity interests of Ocean Enterprise 589 LLC, Ocean Downs LLC and Racing Services LLC (collectively, the “Companies”), which entities own and operate the Casino at Ocean Downs and Ocean Downs Racetrack (collectively, “Ocean Downs”) from a private ownership group led by Mr. William M. Rickman, Jr.

CDI and SCH have formed a new company to execute the definitive agreement to acquire these equity interests, Old Bay Gaming & Racing, LLC ("Buyer"), which is fifty percent (50%) owned by CDI and fifty percent (50%) owned by SCH. By virtue of its twenty five percent (25%) ownership of SCH, CDI will indirectly own an additional twelve and one-half percent (12.5%) of Buyer for a total interest in Buyer of sixty-two and one-half percent (62.5%). The economic terms of the transaction are confidential.

William M. Rickman, Jr. has agreed to remain as a senior advisor to the new owners in his capacity as Executive Vice President of Maryland Gaming LLC to ensure that this strategic partnership is successful. Long-term Government Relations Director, Denise Hill and General Manager, Joseph Cavilla will also continue in their respective roles post-closing. The casino and harness racetrack are located in Berlin, Maryland and encompass approximately 168 acres of land. Mr. Rickman first purchased the property in 2000 and later built the casino in 2010, which now hosts 800 video lottery terminals and electronic table games, as well as live seasonal harness racing.

The closing is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of specified closing conditions, including, without limitation, the approval of all relevant governmental authorities, including the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and Maryland Racing Commission, and receipt of all necessary licenses and permits for Buyer to operate the Companies. The transaction is expected to close later this year, subject to receipt of all necessary approvals.

A deal was also completed earlier this week by The Stronach Group to purchase Rosecroft Raceway, Maryland's other Standardbred racetrack.

(with files from CDI)

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