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Owner puts former Yavapai Downs up for sale

(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX -- The former Yavapai Downs horse racing track in Prescott Valley is for sale.

Again.

It's been closed since it went into bankruptcy in 2010. Scottsdale's Gary Miller bought it at an auction, along with the speedway next to it, last year. He paid $5.5 million.

He renamed it the Prescott Valley Race Course and Prescott Valley Speedway. The car race track has reopened and is a success, drawing between 500 and 1,000 fans a race. But Miller has never been able to get the horse track out of the starting gate.

"I had a set of partners that were working with me," said Miller. "As we went through the process, they've decided not to make the investment."

Miller did not say why the investors backed out. He believes they had a solid game plan to reopen the track and make it successful.

He's decided to sell both tracks for a total of $7.4 million, far below the $12 million estimate of what the property is worth. He said the nearly $2 million difference between what he paid last year and his asking price this year is justified because the speedway and other buildings on the grounds are open and successful. Even though there has not been any horse racing, the former home of the Yavapai County Fair has held dog shows, swap meets and other forms of entertainment since Miller bought it.

Miller said he'd consider remaining a part owner.

"I'm open for any type of a discussion with anyone about what the opportunities could be, with the end objective that I want to get horse racing going up there," said Miller.

He insisted that Prescott Valley needs horses to be running again at the track because of the jobs and economic opportunities that he said it will provide.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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