Churchill Downs Incorporated Receives TRF "Champion Award"

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) today received the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's (TRF) "Champion Award" for CDI's work on behalf of the non-profit organization and the humane retirement of racehorses in the states where CDI racetracks are located. The TRF, which helps retire and find new homes for Thoroughbred racehorses that do not have futures as stallions or broodmares, is the largest organization of its kind in the world.

The TRF recognized CDI and its employees coast to coast for supporting the TRF mission through the Green Pastures Program, which was launched in April 2002 as part of a Company-wide "best practices" program. The Green Pastures Program has three primary objectives:

  1. To encourage horsemen to retire their racehorses sound and suitable for second careers;
  2. To utilize CDI facilities and resources to raise money for TRF, specifically for the ongoing care of horses donated to the TRF; and
  3. To utilize CDI facilities and resources to promote the TRF, its mission, programs and racehorse retirement farms to horsemen, race fans and the general public.

CDI racetracks and training facilities work as intake points for horsemen who want to donate horses to the TRF.  Additionally, the Company's racetracks and off-track betting facilities offer financial support to the TRF in a variety of ways--from formal fundraisers and raffles, to donations of equine-related products and services, to employee donations made through payroll withholding. Since the launch of the Green Pastures Program, CDI employees have raised approximately $240,000 to support TRF retirees. The Company also supports the TRF at the corporate level through financial and in-kind contributions. For example, CDI will this year serve as one of the primary sponsors of the TRF's annual Saratoga Gala in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., the organization's largest fundraising event of the year. 

"Through its unwavering support of humane racehorse retirement and its willingness to raise money and awareness for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Churchill Downs Incorporated has set the standard among U.S. racing organizations," said Diana Pikulski, executive director of the TRF. "When the TRF was looking for a racetrack partner with which to build a model program for promoting retired racehorse adoption and sponsorship among horsemen and race fans, CDI volunteered without hesitation and has been a steady partner ever since. Through the Green Pastures Program, CDI shares its financial resources and something far more valuable: the time and talents of its employees across the country. We are delighted to honor CDI with the TRF Champion Award because the company and its employees have truly championed this important cause."

"Over these many years, Churchill Downs Incorporated has been unbelievable," said TRF founder and chairperson Monique Koehler. "They are always proactive. We easily could have added staff just to keep up with the many good ideas they have put forward. CDI and its employees are always looking for ways to help and have set a precedent for others to follow as far as industry involvement goes."

"We are pleased to accept this distinguished award," said Thomas H. Meeker, CDI's president and chief executive officer. "Horses are the heart of our industry and deserve a safe and healthy retirement once their racing careers are over. Supporting the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and organizations like it comes easily for our Company and its team members because it's the right thing to do. I am very proud of my colleagues' work on behalf of the TRF and the equine athletes that are the centerpiece of our industry."

The TRF Champion Award recognizes those organizations and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the TRF and its mission. Previous winners include Thoroughbred owner and breeder John Hettinger; Allaire duPont, one of the TRF's original benefactors; and John Stuart, past national president of the TRF and current president of the TRF's Kentucky Committee.

CDI, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates horse racing venues and racetracks in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisiana. These racetracks annually host 121 graded-stakes events, including the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, Hollywood Gold Cup, Arlington Million, and Breeders'Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. For more information about CDI, see

The TRF operates farms in Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Major farms include facilities at Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, N.Y., Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington, Ky., Marion County Correctional Institution in Ocala, Fla., where inmates learn vocational and life skills through their care of the horses, and at the Charles Hickey School in Baltimore, Md., where at-risk juveniles benefit from a similar program. At the Exceller Farm in Poughquag, N.Y., racehorses are rehabilitated and retrained for private adoption. For more information or to make a donation, please contact the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, at

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