Prize money surges for horsemen racing at Churchill Downs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs says its new gaming venue is already paying dividends for horsemen racing at the Louisville track.

Track officials say Churchill paid a record $32.2 million in prize money to horsemen during its recently ended spring meet. It was up nearly 45% from the amount paid to horsemen during last year’s spring meet.

Churchill officials say the record payout is due to robust business from historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming in Louisville. Historical racing machines resemble video gambling machines and offer bets on past horses races, keeping the names of the horses and the race secret.

Churchill Downs Inc. invested $65 million to open Derby City Gaming last September. It features nearly 1,000 historical racing machines, two restaurants, a center bar and multiple entertainment options.