05/22/2011 1:17PM

Yavapai Downs in danger of not holding its 2011 meet due to lack of funds


The annual race meet at Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, Ariz., set to open Saturday, is in serious jeopardy of not happening at all.

The Arizona Racing Commission is scheduled to conduct an emergency session on Monday morning to hear the plans of the Yavapai Farm & Agriculture board of directors, who conduct the race meet. The board of directors hopes to have a decision Monday on the viability of running this year’s meet. The 56-day meet was scheduled to run through Sept. 6.

There have been some struggles since its opening in 2001 but the track reportedly is out of money before the meet even begins. The potential knock-out blow came from the Yavapai County Assessor’s office, which recently concluded the track is not a non-profit but instead, a commercial operation. That would send the track’s annual property taxes soaring from $30,000 to $349,000. The track reportedly needs about $500,000.

The board is reportedly looking into acquiring some short-term loans from industry members and possibly a break on federal loan payments to try and make the meet go. Track managers were to meet with federal loan officers Monday to see if they could help adjust on reimbursement of about $13 million worth of loans the association owes the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Other alternatives being considered are asking horsemen to delay receiving purse money and to asking the Racing Commission for a one-week delay in the opening to try and come up with a resolution.

The $23 million facility opened in 2001, replacing the dilapidated Prescott Downs.