When the president and CEO of Churchill Downs Inc. Robert Evans talks, people listened.
Evans made a major keynote address at the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing and Wagering a few weeks ago called “Why I’m Still Breeding Racehorses: Five Reasons to be Optimistic About Racing’s Long-Term Future.” Among other things, he said this:

“Three years or four years ago, I did a presentation with the Kentucky Farm Managers Club, and in that discussion I talked about how there was far too much supply in the industry. And people didn’t want to hear it, didn’t want to deal with it. I think you’re starting to hear people talk about things like less is more and we need to reduce the supply side. We’re probably getting in that mode.”

Evans also arrived at five conclusions about the future of Thoroughbred racing in North America.

Reasons for optimism: 1. Alternative gaming at tracks is expanding. 2. Balance sheets are improving. 3. Racing is embracing technology that exponentially expands our knowledge of customers. 4. There is a market for quality. 5. Innovation is the basis of the competition for customers.

Conclusions: 1. Racing faces many challenges. 2. The economic forces at work suggest racing will continue to consolidate. 3. There is a viable business model at the foundation of racing’s future. 4. Alternative gaming and improved balance sheets give us the time and financial resources to make the necessary changes. 5. Innovation, technology and quality are the paths to success.

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