Citing concerns for public safety and new state orders restricting gathering in public places, local officials have prohibited Arizona Downs from opening this racing season.
That decision comes in the wake of the COVD-19 pandemic and after weeks of discussions between track operators and state and local officials. Though there were initial hopes of hosting races without spectators, local officials raised additional concerns about adequate spacing in stables and other back-of-the-house operations.
“We were hopeful we would be able to host racing, but understand and respect their decision,” said Tom Auther, an Arizona Downs owner. “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees, fans, horsemen and jockeys.”
Earlier this year, Arizona Downs applied with the Arizona Racing Commission to host races through September. But after sharp increases in reported COVID-19 cases across the state, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in late June issued an Executive Order prohibiting the gathering of more than 50 people unless authorized by local officials. Prescott Valley officials recently provided formal notice to Arizona Downs that racing will not be allowed.
“We recognize the many difficult decisions our state and local leaders have had to make in recent months and appreciate them keeping safety at the forefront of all decisions,” Auther said. “We look forward to working with each of them to ensure the safe and successful opening of Arizona Downs in 2021.”
For further updates please refer to Arizona Downs' website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
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