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Year-round horse racing returns to Arizona
The newly renovated Arizona Downs racetrack kicked off its inaugural summer racing season. The spacious three-floor venue opens its gates to Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, and an entertainment-packed season that continues every weekend through Labor Day.
Arizona-based J&J Equine Enterprises LLC purchased the racetrack, formerly known as Yavapai Downs, and have invested more than $7 million to get Arizona Downs ready for the 2019 summer racing season.
“Families are searching for new experiences they can share together without draining their wallets,” said McGovern. “We’ve planned our entire summer season with families in mind, and we’re keeping it very affordable. We want parents and children alike who haven’t experienced
horse racing to fall in love with the sport.”
The fun continues at Arizona Downs every weekend through Labor Day. In addition to the Family Fun Zone, the racetrack will keep families entertained all summer long with themed celebrations for Fathers Day, Kids Day, July 4, Labor Day, and Back-to-Day, among others.
For ongoing updates on events and promotions at Arizona Downs, visit www.arizonadowns.com and follow us on Facebook.
Located in the heart of scenic Prescott Valley, Arizona Downs is kicking off its inaugural summer racing season with a meet that includes 35 days of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, and eight races each day. Arizona Downs is a mile-long racetrack, with a spacious venue that features concession stands, a restaurant and bar with scenic 360-degree views, event space, more than 150 in-house TV screens, and both mutuel and self-bet machines. The racetrack alsooffers a simulcasting room that opens for wagering daily at 9 a.m., and a deli with a full bar throughout the day. For more information, visit www.ArizonaDowns.com.
Arizona Downs has landed one of the world’s preeminent race-callers in naming Michael Wrona the announcer when live horse racing returns to the region for the first time in a decade.
The Australian-born Wrona, who has called races at American tracks from coast to coast as well as overseas, is familiar with Arizona racing, having been the announcer at Phoenix’s Turf Paradise for the 1999-2000 season.
“This will be a chance to experience a different part of Arizona, a much-more comfortable part of Arizona in the summer months,” he said. “I’ve only driven through there once or twice in one of my many treks across the country, but I’m quite looking forward to spending some time there.”
The 53-year-old Australian-born Wrona has earned a reputation as one of the sport’s most colorful and entertaining announcers, weaving humor into precise calls. His simple proclamation of “Racing!” as the horses spring from the gate is among the best-known race-call signatures in the sport.
"And to top off our good fortune, Michael’s wife, Kathy, is an experienced mutuel teller and will also be joining our team!”
Wrona already had been announced as the new race-caller at Kentucky Downs’ five-date all-grass meet on the Tennessee border. Arizona Downs general manager Ann McGovern said the track will have a guest announcer for the closing Labor Day weekend, with Wrona committed to Kentucky Downs’ Aug. 31 opener.
Arizona Downs is open daily at 9 a.m. for betting on tracks across the country and has off-track-betting operations at Connolly’s Sports Grill and Bull Shooters Sports Bar & Grill in Phoenix, The Museum Club in Flagstaff and Gallagher’s Dining & Pub in Lake Havasu City, with more to locations to be added.
Gila River Arena
Tempe Beach Park
Lake Havasu City, AZ
Mesquite Bay North