Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Roderick J. Ratcliff  

Rod Ratcliff has been an advocate for and investor in horse racing for more than a decade. He has been chairman of Centaur, Inc. since 2001.

Under his leadership, the company acquired complete control of Fortune Valley Casino & Hotel in Central City, Colo. and Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind. His efforts were key in bringing slot machines to Indiana’s horse racing facilities, approved by legislation in 2007.

His Pegasus Group, Inc. was an original partner with Churchill Downs in Hoosier Park to establish the first pari-mutuel racetrack in Indiana in 1994. As President of Centaur in the 1990s, Rod formed a partnership that won an Indiana riverboat gaming license for the Argosy Casino and Hotel in Lawrenceburg from the Indiana Gaming Commission. Centaur sold its interest in the riverboat in 2001.

From the mid-1970s, when he took over a small Indiana trucking company, Rod has followed his instincts and experiences to build business success. After a stint at the Chicago Board of Trade, he moved to Lafayette, Ind., where he became enthusiastic about the potential of Indiana’s horseracing industry.

In 2008, Rod was selected as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and was also named the “Columbian of the Year” by the Columbia Club for his volunteer efforts. Recognized as an industry leader, Rod served as a panel expert during a racino presentation at the 2008 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. In 2004, he was named the “Man of the Year” by Gilpin County in Colorado for his economic development initiatives. He is a past director of the Columbia Club in Indianapolis and the American Civil Liberties Union (Indianapolis Chapter). He is a former member of the board of the West Lafayette First United Methodist Church.

Small Firm Gambles Big On Md. Slots
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 27, 2003; Page B01

One of the biggest winners in Maryland's slot machine sweepstakes could be a little-known Indiana gambling firm that was founded by a farmer and a former trucking executive and until recently had only 10 employees.

Centaur Inc., a privately held corporation based in Indianapolis...

The company was formed 10 years ago and has invested in a Midwest riverboat gambling venture, a California casino owned by a one-member Indian tribe, a restaurant in Times Square and a small casino in Colorado. Centaur also holds a minority share in the Hoosier Park harness track in Indiana, but it has never owned or operated a racetrack by itself.

Centaur's modest gambling portfolio wo uld expand exponentially if the Maryland General Assembly approves slots at four racetracks, including Rosecroft. The Oxon Hill track would offer 3,500 slots under a plan approved by the Senate -- 10 times as many as Centaur's tribal casino near Palm Springs, Calif....

"We think we can bring some real opportunities to grow the business, with or without slots," said Jeffrey M. Smith, Centaur's president and chief executive for racing. ...

At the same time, the firm has argued that slots wo uld be no windfall. Centaur executive John McLaughlin has told lawmakers that the company stands to earn $7 million a year or less if the Senate bill becomes law....

Partly because it is a small company, Centaur is relatively unknown on Wall Street....

Records filed with the Maryland Racing Commission indicate that Centaur's primary investors in Rosecroft wo uld be its chairman, Roderick J. Ratcliff, and vice chairman, R. Michael O'Malley. They and their families wo uld own 72.5 percent of the venture.
The two are agribusiness executives from West Lafayette, Ind. Ratcliff is a former trucking executive and fertilizer salesman; ....

For more than 20 years, the former corn-seed dealer from the Lafayette area has parlayed defeat into victory

Rod Ratcliff, CEO of Centaur Gaming, owner of Indiana's two horse-track casinos, has bounced back from one setback after another to become one of the post powerful figures in Indiana gaming

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