The day is a beautiful day in Prescott Valley, the sun is out and wind is blowing. The temperature is perfect. Standing trackside, a ticket clutched in hand, you wait. Tension and excitement is `building until you can almost taste it in the air. The gates are opened and the crowd surrounding you begins to cheer. The intensity and noise increase as the thundering of hooves grow louder. In mere seconds, bright colors and sleek horses charge past the finish post. A mixture of elation and defeat then settles over the crowd. Winners rush to the winners circle to cheer over the horse that just won the race and those who lost move on to prepare for future races.
Memorial Day Weekend saw the inaugural live racing events at the new Arizona Downs with the first live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in nearly a decade. The inaugural season, running weekends May 24th until Labor Day, Arizona Downs will host 35 days of live horse racing with eight races on each day.
At the Arizona Downs locals and visitors alike are all encouraged to attend and with a $2 admission to the grounds and a variety dining options a visit to the Downs is a unique and inexpensive experience anyone can have. “Families are searching for new experiences they can share together without draining their wallets stated General Manager Ann McGovern, “We’ve planned our entire summer season with families in mind, and we’re keeping it all very affordable.” The Arizona Downs wants to encourage parents, first-time visitors, and those who remember and loved the racing from years back to visit and enjoy all the spacious 3-story facility has to offer.
Bringing the kids to the Downs? There is also the Findlay Toyota Family Fun Center with fun food truck concessions, a variety of games, kid stick-horse racing, and the FIDO 500 Mini Puppy Races. The mini puppy races are a cute event where rescue dogs race along together toward the finish line where a tasty treat awaits the winner of the race.
The Arizona Downs also offer options for the serious bettor or one who might be looking for a more elegant experience. On the first floor of the Downs, a simulcast room is offered where TV screens highlight the racing action at the Arizona Downs as well as tracks from across the country. The third floor of the Downs offers an elegant option for patrons with a restaurant and bar and offers excellent views of the tracks.
No matter who you are, young or old, looking for a fun day outdoors or an elegant experience indoors, the Arizona Downs has so much to offer for all. An individual can spend a full day at the Downs without draining their wallet and take in the excitement of the horse races. A long-standing tradition has been reintroduced to the Quad Cities with the opening of the Arizona Downs. With the reintroduction, we can happily proclaim, legacies will race on at the new Arizona Downs.
This is from Saturday's first race, a mile long. The winners were:
1st Place: #3 Cedar Rapids, ridden by jockey Jake Samuels, with a winning time of 1:42.14
2nd Place: #6 Nevadan, ridden by jockey McKenzie King;
3rd Place: #4 Elwood J, ridden by jockey Michael Ybarra;
Horse #5, My Discretion took off without jockey, Richard E. Lull, and actually crossed the finish line first. However, in horseracing, "driverless vehicles" don't get the win!