There was a large crowd in attendance for the final day of horse racing at Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley.
Arizona Downs had a challenging inaugural season. They first opened their gates on Friday, May 24, offering an opportunity for affordable family entertainment. In addition to the horse racing, they offered a Family Fun Zone, which included ‘Mini Dog Races’.
All was off to a great start, until this announcement was made on June 21, “...Arizona Downs has informed employees and horsemen that the racetrack’s summer season is being suspended due to ongoing issues in the battle for fair and equal access to out-of-state racing signals for its Off Track Betting (OTB) system. Pending additional financing, the final live race days for the 2019 summer meet are June 22 & 23.”
However, the Arizona state Legislature passed HB 2547, mandating that any simulcast signal of live racing brought into Arizona from another state must be offered equally to any commercial live-racing entity in the state.
Suddenly, the races were back on starting July 20! Arizona Downs secured an additional investor that provided further financing, the OTB looked promising and the legislation was in place.
Arizona Downs held seven more weeks of racing before this final weekend over Labor Day, and continued to reach out with community events, such as a tug-of-war on the racetrack between the jockeys and the Bradshaw Mountain football team.
In the meantime, a lawsuit was filed on August 9th in the US District Court regarding HB 2547, by plaintiffs Monarch Content Management and Laurel Racing Association. What affect this lawsuit will have, if any, on Arizona Downs remains to be seen.