Arizona Downs Brings Horse Racing Back to Yavapai County

Arizona Downs is kicking off its inaugural summer racing season with 35 days of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. The racetrack is a mile long and eight races are held each day.
There is something for everyone – besides the expected concession stands and restaurant, look for food trucks and a Family Fun Zone. “MIni Dog Races” from Fido 500 take place in the Family Fun Zone.

“Families are searching for new experiences they can share together without draining their wallets,” said Arizona Downs’ general manager, Ann 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-School Day, among others.

Admission gates open at 10 a.m. and post time for the first race is 1 p.m. General admission is $2. Kids 10 and under are free. Tickets are available for purchase at

The racetrack, originally known as Yavapai Downs, was renamed Arizona Downs after being purchased in January 2018. The new name has a special history. The original Arizona Downs was owned by Jim and Flo Herbuyeaux who held successful horse racing meets from the 1950s to the mid 1980s. The racing seasons took place in the heart of Phoenix at Ingleside Turf Club. Eventually, Arizona Downs moved to Turf Paradise, where it continued until 1985.

After J&J Equine Enterprises LLC purchased the Yavapai County racetrack, they reached out through Kentucky Downs’ owner, Corey Johnsen, to Jim and Flo for permission to use the name. Johnsen had worked for Jim and Flo in the 1970’s when he was fresh out of college. They all kept in touch with one another over the years. Jim and Flo were delighted to agree, both to the name change and to attending the Grand Opening over Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s great to know that our namesake, and the rich history it represents, is in such good hands,” said Jim Herbuyeaux.