04/09/2012 11:22AM

Yavapai Downs sale bid rejected by USDA


The United States Department of Agriculture on Friday rejected a $3.25 million bid for Yavapai Downs in Prescott, Ariz., from the former chairman of Arizona’s horsemen’s group and said it would attempt to negotiate a better deal from the underbidder, according to the Prescott Daily Courier.

The rejection has upset Arizona horsemen, who were hopeful that the USDA would accept the bid and put in motion plans by former Arizona Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association chairman Gary Miller to reopen the track for a summer meet this year. Yavapai Downs filed for bankruptcy last year shortly after cancelling its 2011 meet just days before the track was set to open.

The USDA is Yavapai Downs’s biggest creditor, owed $14.7 million. It had until Friday to accept or reject the $3.25 million bid from Miller.

According to the Daily Courier, the USDA said it would seek to negotiate a higher price for the track from Joe Davis, whose final bid in a Tuesday auction held by the bankruptcy court was $3 million. Davis is a horse owner and rancher from Texas.

The USDA has until Thursday of this week to close a deal with Davis, according to the Daily Courier.

Prescott Downs was built by the Yavapai County Fair Association in 2001 at a cost of $22 million. The track has typically run a summer meet beginning on Memorial Day weekend.