Report: Racing Could Return to Yavapai Downs

Report: Racing Could Return to Yavapai Downs
Photo: Coady Photography
Yavapai Downs Race Track

A former president of the Arizona Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association submitted the highest bid of $3.25 million for bankrupt Yavapai Downs and hopes to return horse racing there this year.

The Daily Courier of Prescott, Ariz., reported April 3 that Gary Miller was the top bidder. The United States Department of Agriculture must now decide whether to accept the bid, the newspaper reported.

The USDA holds almost $15 million in loans on Yavapai Downs, which filed for bankruptcy last year and did not offer its Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse meet. The track was built by the Yavapai County Fair Association for $22 million in 2001.

Yavapai Downs replaced Prescott Downs as the summer racetrack on the non-fair Arizona circuit. Turf Paradise in Phoenix is open for live racing the rest of the year.

Miller told the Daily Courier he believes the track “can be resurrected, and we can make money doing it.” His bid was about one-fourth the asking price for the property.

If the purchase is approved it is doubtful Yavapai Downs would open by late May as it has in the past, but Miller told the newspaper he would consider holding a meet this year if the Arizona Department of Racing grants him an operating license.

In 2010 Yavapai Downs raced 54 days for total Thoroughbred purses of $1.78 million, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. The average daily purse payout was $33,001, and field size averaged 7.22 horses per race.

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