By Emily Shields
Prescott Valley’s historic Yavapai Downs will reopen under new management May 24, featuring the new name Arizona Downs. The track last held racing in 2010 and was acquired in 2017. The new owners have spent more than $7 million to renovate the facility, which will race Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer, with extended racing days over Memorial Day weekend and the 4thof July.
The racing surface was completely redone and there was construction in the grandstand. An updated simulcast center was unveiled in 2018. The track is promoting their new Sunday brunch, which is offered from 11am until 3pm.
The track got another boost when popular race caller Michael Wrona was named the announcer. He has called races at Golden Gate Fields, Arlington Park, Lone Star Park, and numerous fair meets, before taking over at Santa Anita in 2016. Wrona will spend time at Kentucky Downs this fall in addition to his new Arizona Downs duties.
The opening day card features eight races, starting with a one-mile claiming race for older males. Opening Friday will include the $20,000 Arizona Downs Inaugural Stakes for Thoroughbreds, three-year-olds and up, over a mile. Ten horses have drawn into the race, including stakes placed Beat the Heat, who is three for five this year, stakes placed Arizona Moon, third in a stake at Turf Paradise last out, and stakes winner Yo Y Me. Seven-year-old graded stakes winner Classy Class, who ran in a pair of grade 1 races in 2015 before taking a grade 3 at Monmouth Park in 2017, is among the entries.
The meet will also have some Quarter Horse racing, including stakes races on May 25 and June 8.
Arizona Downs opens every day at 9am and will race from Friday through Labor Day, September 3.
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