Churchill Downs Inc. buying Maryland racino, harness track with partner

Churchill Downs Inc. and Saratoga Casino Holdings announced Tuesday a joint venture to buy Ocean Downs harness track and casino near Ocean City, Md., for an undisclosed price.

The track, which operates a “racino” with 800 slot machines and electronic table games, is privately owned by a group led by William M. Rickman Jr., a news release states.

Churchill Downs and Saratoga Casino have formed Old Bay Gaming and Racing to jointly purchase Ocean Downs. Because Churchill also has an ownership stake in Saratoga Casino, the Louisville gambling and racetrack company will own 62.5 percent of Old Bay. Rickman will remain as an advisor and other executives also will remain in place, according to the release. Rickman purchased the 168-acre property in 2000 and built the casino in 2010.

The purchase is subject to the approval of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and Maryland Racing Commission. The transaction is expected to close later this year, the companies said.

Churchill owns gambling operations and racetracks in six states, including Churchill Downs in Louisville. Saratoga Casino Holdings in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., operates 1,700 slot machines, electronic table games, live harness racing, simulcast wagering, live entertainment and a hotel.