Year-round horse racing returns to Arizona on Memorial Day weekend when the newly renovated Arizona Downs racetrack kicks off its inaugural summer live racing season. The action begins on Friday, May 24 when the spacious three-floor venue opens its gates to Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing and an entertainment-packed season that continues every weekend through Labor Day.   

Arizona-based J&J Equine Enterprises LLC purchased the racetrack, formerly known as Yavapai Downs, out of bankruptcy court for $3.22 million in January 2018. Since then, the owners have spent more than $7 million to get Arizona Downs ready for the 2019 summer live racing season.

“There is a lot of excitement about Arizona Downs here in the state, and among horse racing fans across the country,” said McGovern. “Year-round horse racing strengthens the industry and benefits everyone – the horse owners, breeder, jockeys, and related professions that will now be able to stay in the state to compete.  And of course there are thousands of families who will be able to enjoy live horse racing in Arizona throughout the year.” 

The Memorial Day weekend grand opening is a four-day celebration that offers something for everyone – music, a Family Fun Zone, food trucks, and eight live horse races throughout each day.  Gates open at 9 a.m. and post time for the first race is 1 p.m.  General admission is $2. Kids 10 and under are free. 

“Families are searching for new experiences they can share together without draining their wallets,” said McGovern. “We’ve planned our entire summer season with families in mind, and we’re keeping it very affordable. We want parents and children alike who haven’t experienced horse racing to fall in love with the sport.” 

The fun continues at Arizona Downs every weekend through Labor Day. In addition to the Family Fun Zone, the racetrack will keep families entertained all summer long with themed celebrations for Fathers Day, Kids Day, July 4, Labor Day, and Back-to-Day, among others. 

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