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Churchill Downs CEO Bob Evans talks Kentucky Derby

Arguably the world's best-known horse race, the Kentucky Derby will draw an estimated 150,000 spectators to Churchill Downs on Saturday, accounting for about one-third of the track's annual performance.

Over the past five years, revenue has grown by about 10 percent and EBITDA by about 20 percent, Churchill Downs CEO Bob Evans said Friday on CNBC's "Halftime Report." In that period, the stock was up 160 percent.

"Things are going pretty well, and I hope we get to play that hand out over the next several years," he said. "We consider all of our strategic options on a regular basis and keep the board informed of what those alternatives are."

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Bob Evans in 2006
AP
Bob Evans in 2006

New to the thoroughbred track this year is a recently unveiled $12 million Panasonic 4K high-definition television screen in the middle of the famous track. Some 170 feet wide and 90 feet high, the TV screen boasted 9 million pixels.

"It's really a neat feature, something no other racetrack has ever done. We wanted to do something that helped the folks in the infield," Evans said.

"There's tens of thousands of people that are in the infield here, and usually they've gone home from the Derbies in the past without ever actually seeing a horse. This year, we put up a screen so big that nobody could miss it, and everybody will say they saw the race from beginning to end this year."

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NBC Sports coverage of the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby begins at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Disclosure: NBC Sports is part of NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro.

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