June 21, 2018

Experience AZ

Yavapai renamed Arizona Downs

The former Yavapai Downs horse track will reopen with a new name: Arizona Downs.

The new ownership of the horse track in Prescott Valley has changed Yavapai Downs’ name to Arizona Downs. That was the name of a former racetrack in Phoenix that opened in 1951 at one site and later ran its annual race meetings by leasing Turf Paradise before ceasing operations in 1985. 

Yavapai Downs last ran in 2010. The facility was bought for $3.22 million out of bankruptcy court in January by J&J Equine Enterprises LLC, an entity formed by brothers and Phoenix-based JACOR Partners principals Tom, Dave and Mike Auther and their partner Joe Jackson, along with longtime racing executive Corey Johnsen.

“First of all, we would like to thank the Herbeveaux family for allowing us to use the name,” said Johnsen, referencing the owners and operators of the original Arizona Downs. “We want to be known as Arizona’s racetrack that benefits horsemen throughout the state. We want a year-round circuit returning to Arizona with the resumption of summer racing, so horses and all the jobs they create stay in the state. A stronger circuit helps everyone in the industry: the breeders, horse owners, trainers, jockeys and all the related professions it takes to get a horse to the races.”

The new Arizona Downs will re-open to the public in July for simulcasting. Live racing is scheduled to begin in 2019, with a meet running from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Plans call for off-track wagering facilities in sports bars and restaurants throughout the state.

Ann McGovern, Arizona Downs’ general manager, has been overseeing more than $2 million in improvements to the facility. The general contractor is Midwest Construction, which has handled major renovation projects at Kentucky Downs, Remington Park and Lone Star Park.