Real-estate investment and development company JACOR Partners has purchased Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley for $3.22 million, with plans to return horse racing to the area, according to a press release issued by the company Friday.
Yavapai Downs is a 90,000-square-foot clubhouse in northeast Prescott Valley. The clubhouse sits on 120 acres and can accommodate 800 horses, the release says, and the new owners plan to invest millions for improvements.
Yavapai Downs has not hosted a race since 2010.
The track opened in 2001 at a cost of $23 million, replacing the antiquated Prescott Downs, which began staging races in 1913. In 2005, state officials threatened to cancel the track’s racing permit over questions of solvency. Yavapai Downs canceled its 2011 season because the track was heavily in debt and losing money, a manager at the time said.
‘A fun place to offer summertime horse racing’
Tom Auther, an affiliate of JACOR and owner of Yavapai Downs, said in a statement that Yavapai Downs will be a great attraction to the growing population of Prescott.
“Yavapai Downs is a great structure that will be a fun place to offer summertime horse racing in Arizona with all the amenities, attractions and great summer temperatures associated with Prescott,” Auther said. “Arizona has a population of more than 7 million and is one of America’s fastest-growing states, and Prescott and the surrounding area is rapidly expanding with a population approaching 300,000.”
Corey Johnson, president of Kentucky Downs, partnered with JACOR Partners on the purchase.
He said it’s gratifying to rebuild the horse-racing scene in Arizona because it holds a lot of value to him.
“I am honored to be a part of Yavapai Downs,” Johnson said. “I am very impressed with the JACOR Partners team, who are Arizona natives with a lifetime of experience in the state in many business deals. Their commitment to making this happen has been extraordinary.”
Republic reporter Dennis Wagner contributed to this article.
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