Access to Media American Legacy Firearms

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Subscriber Services | 928 Media Lab | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Obits | TV Listings | Contact Us
The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news November 26, 2015

2/13/2013 9:58:00 PM
It's final: Yavapai Downs is back on track with new owner
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

It's finally final: Gary Miller is the owner of the Yavapai Downs horse racetrack.

Miller said he received an email at 5:08 p.m. Wednesday that the sale was final, 10 months after his winning bid in bankruptcy court.

"Boy, was this a long road," he said shortly thereafter. He planned to relax Wednesday evening and then get right back to work Thursday, because he has a lot to do to get the track up and running by his goal of May 25.

That includes rehabilitating the 93,000-square-foot grandstands building that's been sitting empty for two years. Roof repairs will be the biggest cost.

No one is happier than the Arizona horsemen to see the track come back to life. They have been forced to go out of state to race during the last two summers after Turf Paradise in Phoenix closes for the season.

"It's our lifeblood that this opens," said Loretta Brasher, executive director of the Arizona Quarter Horse Racing Association. "That's how important this is to the whole racing industry in Arizona, especially quarter horses.

Her group has 900 breeders, owners, trainers and jockeys as members. Breeding is "almost non-existent" without the PV track, she said.

"We have to have year-round racing here," agreed Tom Metzen, executive director of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent & Protective Association. "It's been here 100 years except the last couple of years."

The Downs employed about 300 people each summer alongside hun-dreds of trainers, jockeys and assistants. The economic benefits extend to everything from feed stores to veterinarians, PV Economic Development Manager Greg Fister and PV Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said.

The Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association's board of directors abruptly shuttered the track in May 2011. The board said the track didn't have enough money to open, and by July 13 of 2011 it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A federal bankruptcy judge approved the sale of the track to Miller for $5.5 million. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development arm held a $14.7 million loan on the facilities, mostly for its construction in 1999-2001, and now the federal agency will transfer $5.5 million of that loan to Miller.

Spokesperson Dianna Jennings said, "We were pleased that the final sale price recouped more than $2 million over the initial high bid for taxpayers. Our hope is that the improved economy in the area and a fresh start for the facility will provide the jobs and economic stimulus that were the impetus for our funding of the project in the first place."

Miller submitted an application for racing and off-track betting permits to the Arizona Department of Racing on Jan. 15. That same day, he resigned as president of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent & Protective Association that represents horsemen.

He said he hasn't picked a name for the track yet, but it won't be Yavapai Downs.

Miller will meet with Arizona Department of Racing Director Bill Walsh to see what he can do before he has state permits, such as setting up off-track betting sites or sending out horse stall applications to anxious horsemen.

"Our goal is to do everything we can to get them up and racing this year," Walsh said of the PV racetrack.

But the department must do a thorough review of the permit applications to make sure Miller has the financial ability to run the track and pay off bets, Walsh said.

"My bottom line is, what happened two years ago I don't want to have happen again," said Walsh, who was not the director at that time.

"Time is of the essence," said Brasher, who breeds horses with her husband Wayne, a long-time trainer.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   One killed in Highway 169 crash (3241 views)

•   Prescott Valley Police begin stepped-up DUI enforcement (1430 views)

•   New council members sworn in: Mayor Oberg lists top tasks: PSPRS, group homes, water, growth (1119 views)

•   Obituary: Jane Lynn (Garton, Reeves, Akin) Cart (1079 views)

•   Silent Witness offers reward for information in arson case (896 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: Thank you Mr. Miller

THANK YOU for investing your money to get the track going again. I hope that your venture is sucessful and will be here for a long time. The Tri-City area needs all the help it can get to draw more money and jobs to the community. Looking forward to visiting your renovated facility to enjoy both horse and auto racing.

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: The past is over

Heading to the races! Whatever happened before is over and there are horse races coming back. Perhaps car races, maybe many other events. Good luck to Mr. Miller - glad to see that he has been able to see his way through the controversy to bring back a great thing for our community.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Auto Racing By June

Tis true I hear! Can't wait!

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: @ Whoo Hoo

First of why don't your learn some correct grammar and then try to make an argument. I never said anything about being a professional, but I did criticize the track management because it had many problems, and that is my opinion. If you have your own opinion then say it, calling people whiners is not a very sportsmanlike thing to do is it?

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: D S

I will not pay to be admitted to a place my tax money paid for.
Also, I will call ICE the day I hear illegals are working there.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

Yeah! Best of luck Mr Miller and thank you for turning a negative into a positive. And
I hope we can get some motorsports along with the horse racing.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: old goat

Excellent! I hope Mr. Miller also revives AMA flat track motorcycle racing, as the two races scheduled for 2012 were (obviously) not run. With the proper marketing/advertising every biker in Phoenix would be in PV to attend and spend their money.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Another Opinion

All I can say is YAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Bad Buddha

Bring back the Main Event! The Weiner Dog Races!!

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Blue Moon

Mike Johns
Take a trip up to the Downs I,m sure someone could help you .

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Johns

Does anyone know how to reach Mr. Miller? I live in Prescott, and I have a successful back ground in event marketing and especially Motorsports, with a strong contingent of corporate relationships who would be interested in sponsorship/marketing opportunities at the complete facility - some new ideas on equestrian events, as well as a variety of AMA, NASCAR, USAC, IMCA Motorsports projects. I'm very interested in contributing in ways that will offset rehab costs, and produce record attendance with a profitable outcome. I'm successfully employed and I'm not looking for another job...I want to bring top quality events to my hometown, and just enjoy a great party where the guests leave saying, "WOW, that was awesome!" Thanks for any direction you can help with.

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: Blue Moon

The Mis-Management set in years ago:

In 2004, I had occasion to go and see the Manager at that time of YCF. To get to his office, I had to go through a larger office, the larger office had tables on every wall, that had stacks and stacks and stacks of boxes full of paperwork, all in Disarray. Not exactly what you would expect from a well run office. Last vear, while in conversation with our current Mayor, I posed the question "What about all the money that the Town has lost because of YCF?" his answer, " Not much I can do about it." I guess that said it all !!!.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Nice PR

BUT...@ Hooty Hoo, I'm afraid you are VERY misinformed ! It was in fact TAX PAYERS money that built the track in Prescott Valley aided and abetted by the Council at the time. Two of which are STILL on Council ! There was deception from the start on the part of the Council and Management of the Track. I ALSO knew the people involved and know there was deception and have the paper work to prove it!. The investigation is ongoing as I'm sure Mr.G will tell you.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

I love all the yohos bleating like it was THEIR money that built the track. Not really. It was a calculated risk in the form of a loan and they went bell up. You may know someone who mailed in their home keys. That wasn't your money either. I once knew the guy who did this deal, and he had good ideas. It just didn't grow the way he saw it growing. I sort of liked the old Prescott Downs, but the half mile track was a problem for horses safety with the tight turns. That was the reason for moving. I really hope the new guy does well. I had a box the first year but the facility lacked cashflow to keep it looking decent as time went on. Hopefully that won't happen this time.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Whoo Hoo

@start your engines-us real racers thought the track and management were super and hope they all return to get this going again. You must be one of those whiners who can never be pleased and think you are a professional. This is a dirt track in a small town with sportsmanship and fun. Let's keep it that way!

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: START YOUR ENGINES

hopefully the dirt track opens soon under totally new and improved management, the previous people who ran the track did a horrible job, and treated us racers like it was some kind of privilege to drive on their pot hole track that broke more car parts than accidents did. Its not a privilege, we are there to put on a show for the fans.

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: Opto Mist

Wishing you much success and prosperity , new owner , new management , new uses of all the facilities , better than the place just sitting there collecting dust . Racing all forms , county fair , swap meets , rv park , out with the old in with the new Congrats Mr Miller!!

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: Not on The inside

@O O, How right you are ..then there is the ORIGINAL development agreement that is hidden form public,( The one now is a Cleaned up version) Will the people who got away with over 14 Million of OUR money ever be brought to justice? Don't hold your breath. Just remember this when you vote in the up coming Election for Mayor and Council. Don't expect change if you vote in the same people who brought this fiasco to you in the first place. I hope that Mr.Miller has the sense to steer clear of the same people that brought down the track.

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: Button Square Pants

I'm with EX PAT, lets get those car races back out to the track too!!!

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: Whoo Hoo

What do you racing about mid-May? Let's hope so! Get those cars tuned up and ready to race!

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: Good Job

I am glad this is re-opening, not just for the entertainment value, but economic as well. Its a shame this deal couldnt have happened 2 years ago and save everybody so much money on repairs and continue to be put money into the economy. Then it could have been a much better final story, like GM.

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: O O

Tarkowski and Fister should not be allowed within 5 miles of the track property, except to collect the money owed to the town. This track has not paid its water and sewer bills for about 7 years. You try that, and see how long it takes before your services are cut off.

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: Kay Chaisson

Dear Yavapai County, Mr, Miller is investing in our community. Let's go out and support him and the whole racing industry. Horse racing is a fun sport. If you have never gone to the races it will be back in your own area so go out and spend a day at the races. You will have a great time and want to return. I believe Mr. Miller and his staff will do a great job to entertain us.

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: Keith T.

AND THEY ARE OFF!!!!!!! Good luck Mr. Miller. Bring back Boomer. I will be there with my friends and family. Can hardly wait.....

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: The shadow Knows

Follow the money folks. What about the 14 Million that the tax payers are out? Tom Steele talks a good game but you will notice that he is silent when it comes to "We the people" being represented!

  - Page 1 -  Page 2

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - dCourier App
Find more about Weather in Prescott, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Quick Links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

 •  Submit your milestone notice

 •  Submit your letter to the editor

 •  Submit a news tip or story idea

 •  Place a classified ad online now

 •  Browse the Yellow Pages

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Links
Classifieds | Subscriber Services | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Find Prescott Jobs | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
LB - PV Event Center Mannheim Steamroller

© Copyright 2015 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Daily Courier is the information source for Prescott area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved