Arizona Downs, the track formerly known as Yavapai Downs, opens for simulcasting for the first time since 2010 this Friday, allowing racing and sports fans to bet on horses running at tracks around the country.
“We are ready to go,” said Arizona Downs general manager Ann McGovern. “Our employees are beyond excited to show off the new Arizona Downs. We look forward to welcoming back racing enthusiasts who have missed having a horse track in the market, as well as introducing our great sport to a new audience.”
Gates open Friday at 9 a.m. MST, with closing time depending on what tracks are running. Horse racing enthusiasts will be on hand to explain the basics of handicapping and how to read the program for those interested in assistance. Chef Don Walker will prepare a selection of handmade paninis, pizzas and sandwiches for purchase, with a variety of beverages available, including beer, wine and liquor.
Yavapai Downs last ran in 2010. The facility was bought 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. Live thoroughbred and quarter-horse racing in the summer will return to Arizona in 2019, with Arizona Downs running Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Arizona Downs’ launch of its onsite simulcasting center is the first step toward creating an in-state network of off-track betting outlets affiliated with the track in order to further strengthen purses paid out to racehorse owners.
The new owners changed the track’s name to Arizona Downs to reflect the restoration of a year-round circuit to the state, as well as its importance to all facets of Arizona’s racehorse industries.