Horseracing Season Canceled at Arizona Downs

Officials at Arizona Downs have canceled the 2020 horseracing season at the track at 10501 E. Highway 89A in Prescott Valley.

The reason for cancellation was cited as “concerns for public safety and the new state orders restricting gatherings in public places.”

Ordinarily, the racetrack operates from Memorial Day weekend in May until Labor Day weekend in September.

Because of continued increases in COVID-19 cases throughout the state, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order in June prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people unless they were allowed by local officials. Prescott Valley officials opted to adopt the same policy.

Arizona Downs co-owner Tom Auther, in a news release, said: “We were hopeful we would be able to host racing but understand and respect the decision. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees, fans, horsemen and jockeys.”

He said he is looking forward to a safe and successful opening of Arizona Downs in 2021.

The formal written announcement came July 22 from spokesman Craig Braddick.

Arizona Downs previously was known as Yavapai Downs from the time it was built in 2000 until it went bankrupt in 2011. The racetrack sat vacant until 2018 when J & J Equine Enterprises LLC bought it in bankruptcy court for $3.21 million.

The renamed racetrack reopened in May 2019 after considerable renovation. Both thoroughbreds and quarter horses have raced on the mile-long track.

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