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The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today concluded its acquisition of EquiSource in conjunction with the formation of a new group purchasing subsidiary, NTRA Purchasing, which will offer substantial savings on products and services from John Deere, Penske Auto Centers, Sherwin-Williams Paints, IKON Office Solutions, Boise Cascade Office Products, Kimberly-Clark, Hallway Feeds and others to NTRA supporters. NTRA Purchasing will be based at the NTRA's headquarters in Lexington, Ky., with field representatives in four geographic regions.

EquiSource, formed in 1997 by UniStar and Churchill Downs Investment Corp., delivered cost reduction and efficiencies to NTRA member racetracks, farms and veterinary groups by aggregating the purchasing power of NTRA members to negotiate national supply agreements with leading suppliers of materials and services.

"Delivering member benefits in the form of cost savings through group purchasing has always been one of the NTRA's core objectives," said Greg Avioli, NTRA deputy commissioner and COO. "The formation of NTRA Purchasing enables us to enhance that service, with the added benefit that a much larger share of members' purchases will now directly fund the NTRA's programs to grow the horseracing industry."

"This is a good deal for all parties involved, including EquiSource customers and their preferred suppliers of products and services," said Miles Lee, CEO of UniStar. Under the terms of the transaction, UniStar will continue to provide group purchasing services to NTRA Purchasing.

The executive director of NTRA Purchasing is Joe Morris, former John Deere national account manager for EquiSource. "At the outset, NTRA Purchasing will focus on a small number of key products that meet the daily needs of NTRA supporters and offer opportunities for repeat and multiple purchases," said Morris. "John Deere, Sherwin-Williams and Hallway Feeds offer products that are especially useful for farms and racetracks, while Penske, IKON, Boise Cascade and Kimberly-Clark can help meet the daily business needs of virtually every NTRA supporter."

John Deere is the title sponsor of the $2 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf and its associated Turf racing division and is the presenting sponsor of the $1.5 million Great State Challenge, which debuts in 2002. Penske Auto Centers is the title sponsor of the $1 million Penske Auto Centers Breeders' Cup Sprint and the Sprint racing division.

Morris and other NTRA Purchasing representatives will meet with farm managers, horsemen and racetrack officials during the first quarter of 2002 to solicit their input on products and services that may be added to the roster of those currently offered by NTRA Purchasing. For more information on products and services available through NTRA Purchasing call (866) 678-4289.

Information on NTRA Purchasing's corporate partners appears below:

John Deere
Beginning in a blacksmith shop in 1837, John Deere forged a new kind of plow and a new kind of industry. He based his growing company on four basic principles: quality, commitment, integrity and innovation. One of the world's oldest and most respected enterprises, Deere & Company creates smart innovations in the form of advanced machines, services and concepts for customers on farmsites, worksites and homesites worldwide.

Penske Auto Centers
Penske Auto Centers LLC is the largest independent tire dealer in the United States. In addition to its strong presence in the marketplace for tire sales, other services offered by Penske Auto Centers include 30-minute oil changes, wheel alignments, ATF fluid exchanges and brake service, just to name a few. Integral to the company's overall success are its long-term growth strategy and strategic partnerships with organizations such as Kmart, Goodyear, Mobil, NAPA, Snap-on, Safety-Kleen and Exide Battery Company.

Sherwin-Williams Paints
Sherwin-Williams is a global producer of paints and coatings with a rich history of innovation. Since its founding by Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams in 1866, the company has taken the lead in service and product advances. From developing dry chemical pigments, brushable lacquers and synthetic enamels, to being the first paint company to offer an emulsified finish, Sherwin-Williams has continually pushed the envelope of coatings technology.

IKON Office Solutions
IKON Office Solutions is one of the world's leading providers of products and services that help businesses communicate. IKON provides customers with total business solutions for every office, production and outsourcing need, including copiers and printers, color solutions, distributed printing, facilities management, imaging and legal document solutions, as well as network design and consulting, e-business development and technology training. With fiscal 2001 revenues of $5.3 billion, IKON has approximately 600 locations worldwide including the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland and Denmark.

Boise Cascade Office Supplies
Boise Cascade Corporation, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, is a major distributor of office products, including office supplies, paper, computer supplies and office furniture.

Founded in 1872 and now a $14 billion global consumer products company, Kimberly-Clark specializes in tissue, personal and health-care products. Kimberly-Clark brand names include Kleenex, Scott, Cottonelle, Viva, Huggies, Kimwipes, Depend, Poise and many more.

Hallway Feeds
Stamm 30 is a highly concentrated source of proteins, vitamins and minerals designed for foals, weanlings, yearlings, gestating mares, lactating mares, breeding stallions and performance horses. It is easy to use in conjunction with any type of feeding program or management application.

UniStar LLC
UniStar is a leading group purchasing organization providing optimal supply chain value to fragmented industries. UniStar's unique demand aggregation service delivers significant cost savings for buyers, increased market share and reduced cost of sale for suppliers, and sustained revenue for its marketing partners.

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horseracing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, and the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program, both of which are funded by the industry's owners and breeders. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site,, and at the Web site for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Contact the NTRA at



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