[EDITORIAL] Yavapai Downs sale a boon one way or another

The Daily Courier

We’re encouraged that talks are getting serious about a private ownership’s potential acquisition of Yavapai Downs at Prescott Valley. Bankruptcy court and the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week will consider sale of the blighted horse racing facility, built in 2001 for $22 million and today fetching a bid of about one-quarter of that.

Gary Miller late last week upped his second offer on the track to $5.5 million, after the USDA rejected his $3.5 million earlier this year. Miller, current president of the Arizona Horseman’s Benevolent & Protective Association (HBPA), which dates back to 1956, reports to be the sole owner of Prescott Valley Race Course LLC, which submitted the bid.

Who can say if investing in horse racing is wise these days. The industry has been hammered by, as one analysis concluded, too many tracks with too few bettors. The advent of racinos (horse racing tracks with slot machine gaming) hopes to stem industry slides in a self-sustaining revenue effort but, they haven’t gained much support in Arizona. And as recently as 2010, the New York Racing Association flatly told Reuters, “Running a racetrack is now a negative gross business.”


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