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10/21/2012 6:01:00 PM
Racetrack sale hearing is Oct. 30
File Photo/Courtesy The Daily Courier
File Photo/Courtesy The Daily Courier

Joanna Dodder Nellans
Special to the Tribune

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court could approve the sale of the Yavapai Downs horse racetrack to Gary Miller on Oct. 30.

The court has scheduled a sale hearing for 9 a.m. in Phoenix.

Miller, president of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent & Protective Association that represents horsemen, struck a tentative deal earlier this month with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development to buy the track for $5.5 million.

Along with the bankruptcy court, the USDA must approve the sale since it holds $14.65 million in loans on the track. Miller will assume $5.5 million of the existing loan. He also has agreed to pay as much as $400,000 in closing costs.

The Oct. 30 sale could be delayed if someone objects first.

Also, other people have the right to bid higher than Miller at the Oct. 30 court sale. But others haven't expressed any interest in the track since Miller submitted the high bid of $3.25 million at an April court auction. The USDA rejected that bid and negotiated for more money.

If the court approves the sale to Miller, he and the trustee will have an unspecified period of due diligence in which Miller examines the facilities before the two sides close on the deal.

The track facilities include a one-mile horse racetrack, the 93,328-square-foot grandstands, about 860 horse stalls and a neighboring car racetrack.

Miller has stated that he'd like to get the track open again for the 2013 horseracing season that traditionally started on Memorial Day Weekend.

The Prescott Valley track never opened for the 2011 summer racing season, and it's been closed ever since. Its former owner, the Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association, filed for bankruptcy in July 2011.

USDA Rural Development originally loaned the Yavapai County Fair Association about half the money it needed to build a new $22 million track in Prescott Valley in 2001 to replace the shorter track in Prescott.

The summer racing meet in the Prescott area had been operating since 1960, and horse racing here dates back to territorial days.

Related Stories:
• Prospective new owner faces daunting task at Yavapai Downs
• Court accepts horseman's bid for Yavapai Downs
• Possible $5.5M Downs deal; track could be open by Memorial Day
• Attorney: Track could have stayed afloat
• Yavapai Downs purchase negotiations continue

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Article comment by: Let me Guess!

Sharon, Spiker, Grundy, Bibey, etc. types will be in charge! Been there, done that, read the book, and saw the movie!

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