PDA

View Full Version : Yavapai files bankruptcy


highnote
07-28-2011, 12:40 AM
Hard to believe that barely a word has been mentioned about Yavapai filing bankruptcy.

Nice to know that ol' Senator Kyl, et al, are doing good work in the Great State of Arizona.

From the HANA blog:

"Management from Yavapai was willing to move in a different direction and wrote a proposal that would have enabled them to operate an ADW jointly with their horsemen. This new measure to bring ADW wagering to AZ was jointly backed by Yavapai Downs, their horsemen, and the AZ Dept. of Racing. Sadly, the Governorís Office and the Attorney Generalís Office quashed the idea.

Fast forward less than two years and Yavapai Downs is no longer open for business."


http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/3b80baa6ff0048b297f35ac63796ae28/AZ--Yavapai-Downs-Bankruptcy

BillW
07-28-2011, 03:09 AM
Senator Kyl had nothing to do with this (He's a US senator, not in Arizona state gov't). The racing industry did this to themselves. A few years earlier they lobbied the state to make it a felony to wager on a horserace from home (ADW wagering) which the state complied. When they (a different "they" but in the state's eyes, still the same "horseracing industry") went back and asked that it be made legal again they were turned down. Apparently the Atty. General and Governor felt they were being jerked around. Probably rightly so from their point of view. Another example of the racing industry shooting itself in the foot.

highnote
07-28-2011, 07:52 AM
Senator Kyl had nothing to do with this (He's a US senator, not in Arizona state gov't). The racing industry did this to themselves. A few years earlier they lobbied the state to make it a felony to wager on a horserace from home (ADW wagering) which the state complied. When they (a different "they" but in the state's eyes, still the same "horseracing industry") went back and asked that it be made legal again they were turned down. Apparently the Atty. General and Governor felt they were being jerked around. Probably rightly so from their point of view. Another example of the racing industry shooting itself in the foot.


You may be right about Kyl, but I'm still surprised no one is talking much about Yavapai. I guess not many people care or not many people are aware?

Maybe Kyl is not directly responsible, but he is anti-internet gambling. The racing industry may have taken their lead from him. He is lobbied heavily by the land based Arizona Indian casinos to disallow internet gambling to protect their interests.

Ironically, in a few years the big Las Vegas land based casinos will have internet portals for gambling. So it's all very hypocritical, in my opinion.

Don't be surprised to see those Indian casinos with internet portals for gambling also. It's a lot cheaper to run a game online than in a big plant.

It's all about who controls the flow of money by keeping the competition out legislatively and unfortunately not about competition in the free market.

Personally, I will never bet a penny on these online casinos that are coming. But I digress.

Bottom line... it's a mess and Yavapai bankruptcy is one outcome.

BillW
07-28-2011, 08:56 AM
John,

This was a ploy by the Az. racing industry to force people to go to the tracks/OTB. Nothing more. As you say, they tried to control the money by keeping the competition out legislatively. The quote from the HANA blog that you referenced was from first person experience. This was a HANA project.
It was business decisions such as this that was a prime motivator behind the formation of HANA.

duncan04
07-28-2011, 02:24 PM
If its not takeout related HANA doesn't care :rolleyes:

Jeff P
07-28-2011, 02:45 PM
That's absolute nonsense.

In the case of Yavapai, HANA attended meetings with leadership from Yavapai track management, the AZ HBPA, and the AZ Dept of Racing.

Nearly every aspect of the business model was discussed - and suggestions for improvement in all areas (not just pricing) were offered.





-jp

.

craigbraddick
07-28-2011, 02:49 PM
I have been closely involved with the players in this as I left my last job to become the Announcer at Yavapai Downs this year.

Myself and the new GM were misled by the former financial people and the board of directors who were at best incompetent and willfully ignorant.

Over the years, a lot of money has gone astray and there seems to be no interest in an investigation at this time as to where it went. The Board of Directors knew nothing about racing and believed what they were told by the former Comptroller. When it came to light that there were (ahem) "financial irregularities" the Board continually told the new GM, me and others that money was available, we would still be racing, go ahead, etc. In the end, money was not available.

There was a property tax issue that was not addressed that was the fault of the board of directors. When the taxes went up, they used that a an excuse that we may not run. I happened to meet the County Tax Assessor at a TV station where we were to be guests on the same show and I (the humble Announcer) proposed an idea that she said would be acceptable to her and the tax code. If I can do that in fifteen minutes, why could the board of directors not have done that in nine months?

Many people have suffered greatly. My career is back at square one again, not to mention the big financial loss I have suffered that has taken a toll on myself and my family. The same for many horsemen. Many of who were openly hostile and I, as well as the new staff there, took the shouting and listened and tried to help as best we could.

Alas, the Board of Directors never faced the music as we repeatedly did. Neither did one of them ever apologize for the failure they were ultimately responsible for. And in many ways, I think that is what hurts the most.

We even got state approval for a daily 11% Pick Five. The new GM, myself, the new Racing Secretary and the Mutuels person literally were working regular 15-18 hour days to make it happen. In the end we failed because we were given a situation fr worse than we were led to believe and assurances were not met.

There are many questions to be asked. Though now lawyers are involved and Andy Tobin (speaker of the house in AZ) does not feel an investigation is needed. However, a federal investigation may take place as the USDA is owed about 14 million in a loan Yavapai never once paid back on.

I gave my heart and soul to that place in the time I was there. The new GM and the people he had around him were and are great people and we were all committed and dedicated. If new owners are found and they keep us, they will have a winner on their hands.

This has just been such a sad episode. I have cried many tears for the people hurt by this (including myself and I am ashamed to say at times that means I have wallowed in self pity.) I just hope the people responsible for this mess get their comeuppance and the people hurt by this mess will be given another chance to shine, be it at Yavapai or elsewhere.

Any questions and I will be pleased to answer them as best I can, Remembering, I no longer work there and in no way represent Yavapai Downs now.

Craig

sonnyp
07-28-2011, 02:50 PM
unfortunately, it would be best if a few more places like yavapai fell by the wayside. the industry is so overexposed and whether it darwin's law of survival of the fitest or a pruning, racing could use fewer of the weak sisters. less will end up being more.


craig, i was writing this as you were posting. im very sorry you and your famliy are suffering the slings and arrows of this lousy economy. more people i know are suffering than not. i certainly hope this guy doesn't get reelected. i see no chance of improvement with him at the helm. good luck.

craigbraddick
07-28-2011, 02:54 PM
I do not entirely disagree with your premise though Yavapai probably would not fit that criteria. It was the only track to race in AZ over the summer and the only adjoining state with racing is NM.

Incidentally, Darwin used "survival of the fittest" not to mean elimination of the weakest but metaphorically as: "better adapted for immediate, local environment." Using Darwin's measure, Yavapai had it correct but were hamstrung by financial problems and questionable management practices from the past.

Scientists still misuse the term today (very frustrating) and of course religious people often abuse the phrase in their God centered creation myths they try to propagate as science.

Thank you for your kind thoughts, Sonny. I hope to pick up some fill in work soon and am looking forward to seeing my family again and getting my career back on track.

Craig

johnhannibalsmith
07-28-2011, 03:05 PM
That's absolute nonsense.

In the case of Yavapai, HANA attended meetings with leadership from Yavapai track management, the AZ HBPA, and the AZ Dept of Racing.

...

I can confirm this fact as well as BillW's characterizations of the problem facing AZ racing regarding the ADW legislation being self-imposed.

The ADW law was indeed coercive, its main intent was to demand horseplayers into the OTB network, owned by Turf Paradise. It was sold to horsemen as a combative measure to head off the "ADW leeches" that were contributing a minute fraction from wagers to the purse fund compared to on-track and in-state off-track locations.

This certainly was not entirely untrue, however, as time has passed and it appears that a large volume contributing a little per capita would be preferable to a tiny volume contributing a little more per capita, Turf Paradise has remained content with the status quo.

It was indeed the efforts of former management at Yavapai in concert with Jeff Platt and others at HANA that actually moved towards changing the law or at least interpreting its intent in such a way that conduct that benefitted the industry at large (not necessarily one entity within) would be permitted.

As a side note, the bankruptcy of Yavapai Downs had little to do with the actual racing product, in my opinion - an opinion shared by many, many others. From the inception, they built the shit dangerously close to the fan and it just took a little sway for the two to collide.

johnhannibalsmith
07-28-2011, 03:08 PM
...Remembering, I no longer work there and in no way represent Yavapai Downs now.

Craig

Makes it a bit easier now huh? :)

I'm glad to read your two posts here Craig.

There is no real reason why racing isn't successful at Yavapai other than those which you described and which I have alluded to in the past.

craigbraddick
07-28-2011, 03:51 PM
Hi John:

And if there is a plus side for any future racing at Yavapai, it is the fact that it is well located, not surrounded by other tracks and the summer climate is ideal for racing.

I would love to be part of a new enterprise there. If you read the local paper, there are people )the same people) who always say it should never have left Prescott, yada yada yada...but my personal experience was local businesses were excited about this years race meet. They knew there were new staff there, trying to make a difference and many of them paid sponsorship money. In fact, I sold many of them sponsorships (easily out selling the professional sales person they had on staff) by just going out, meeting people, introducing myself as the new announcer. The accent intrigued them and it was pretty easy to talk them into a sale. Hasten to add, the GM and myself made sure all the sponsors got their money back.

There was also one time where I managed to impress a local traffic cop when the racing secretary and I were caught backing up on the highway! I used my best upper class English voice: "I do apologize, Commander. I am Craig Braddick, the new Track Announcer at Yavapai Downs, don't you know? And we do not have roads such as these in England so I am afraid my navigation skills are not what they should be. I am sure you understand, this poor American man (Racing Secretary) is acting as my driver you see, and one shouldn't punish the poor when they are doing the bidding of their masters"

He smiled, advised us not to do it again and we were free to go.

Craig

BlueShoe
07-28-2011, 05:29 PM
I'm still surprised no one is talking much about Yavapai. I guess not many people care or not many people are aware?
Not so. There are at least two threads on the General Racing Discussion forum on this topic, and they drew several responses. At the time, this poster expressed concern and stated that all players should be alarmed by the Yavapai situation, even those that had little or no interest in the track.

highnote
07-28-2011, 10:50 PM
Not so. There are at least two threads on the General Racing Discussion forum on this topic, and they drew several responses. At the time, this poster expressed concern and stated that all players should be alarmed by the Yavapai situation, even those that had little or no interest in the track.


I will look for those threads. I did not see them. Thanks!

highnote
07-28-2011, 11:07 PM
John,

This was a ploy by the Az. racing industry to force people to go to the tracks/OTB. Nothing more.

I understand and agree. There are plenty of people to blame and Kyl is one of them, in my opinion.


This was a HANA project.

Again, I agree. I attended the Yavapai/HANA meeting in person along with Jeff Platt. It was pretty productive given how new HANA was and what little cred we had at the time. That meeting gave HANA a boost. I was also very impressed with the GM and track announcer. Sadly, their names escape me -- Boomer? Those guys worked their tails off to get the plant open and ready for business and they seemed genuinely interested in growing Yavapai.


It was business decisions such as this that was a prime motivator behind the formation of HANA.

Once again, I agree. I felt strongly enough about the plight of horseplayers that I put together the first meetings to form HANA. I will always be very proud that I was able to help in it's creation.

When I left the board of HANA I knew it was in great hands. It's great to see the work continuing.

jelly
07-28-2011, 11:32 PM
If its not takeout related HANA doesn't care :rolleyes:


Duncan,you should apologize to HANA and then run back to
Ray(cut & paste)Paulick. :(

duncan04
07-29-2011, 01:09 AM
Duncan,you should apologize to HANA and then run back to
Ray(cut & paste)Paulick. :(


Why appologize? Isn't everything you hear from them about takeout? And I don't read the Paulick report.

cardinalsfan
07-29-2011, 02:55 AM
Another one bites the dust!

There may have been gross mismanagement of the finances of this track that aided the demise of Yavapai downs but that is yet another symptom of the disease that is leading to the downfall of horse racing in Arizona.

The owner and managers of tracks in this state are out of touch with the world of horse racing. First, they must realize and accept that horse racing is beautiful and awe inspiring BUT I assure you, only a tiny, tiny piece of the population would attend if there were no gambling. What? People gamble at the horse races? SHOCKING!. Promote this aspect of the sport. Horse racing has some huge jackpots and exciting wagering options. Let people know. Quit being ashamed of this aspect of the sport!

Next, if you want people to attend your tracks and OTB's, make them attractive and terminate the employment of sub-par employees. Why would somebody want to spend the day at the races only to be treated indifferently and rudely by tellers. Oh, and you might want to actaully teach your tellers about horse racing! Many have no knowledge of the sport.That would certainally make the expericnce much more pleasent for your customers.

Tracks should treat their clients (usually thought of as pain in the ass customers) as the casinos in Las Vegas do. Make them feel important. Have somebody by the self-serve machines to help new visitor to the track. Serve decent fairly priced food. Provide programs that have some useful information in them (you should see what we have to pay $2 for here-it is a joke!) You get the idea.

The OTB's in this state that you tried to drive clients to by opposing ADW ( I don't care what you say, I believe you opposed it thinking we would all flock to your dirty, dark OTB's and the track) are a joke. I have been to most and have only found two tellers that even cared if their clients were well take care of. The rest should be fired immediately, even if you have to close down for a couple of weeks. The rooms are dingy and you can almost never see the races you wish to. You see, here in Arizona, the OTB's are located in bars where the owners think of horse players as a daily irritation. The owners do not receive any payment from the tracks for allowing the OTB's in them. They complain horse players do not spend money of food and drink. This is partially true but the owners do not take into account that these clients are in their bar many times a week and they do not offer a horse players menu. This could be four or five items that are highly profitable to the bar and at the same time affordable to horse players that visit everyday. If you don't want horse players in your bar, then don't sign the agreement to house an OTB!!!

Here is my vision for racing in Arizona (no charge should anyone actually choose to pay attention):

1) Hire ethical and honest management that truly knows and appreciates ALL aspects of the game including the gambling aspect.

2) Revamp your OTB system so that all of your clients are welcome in well lit facilities with tellers that know their job and care. Or better yet, actually get you heads out of your rear end and lobby to open an in-state ADW site.

3) Promote horse racing in the state as a circuit. Arizona still has a wonderful circuit of county fair thoroughbred and quarter horse meets. The number of tracks are dwindling but there are still plenty of meets. I will bet that almost nobody outside the state knows about this! One of the most exciting places in the state to watch horse racing live is at the county fair meet at Rilito Downs. The place is packed!

4) Make the track financially responsible with strict oversight by the state. Corruption in horse racing must be addressed and addressed with vigor. I'm not saying state employees are on the dole but you have to wonder. Racing in this state is incestuous. This must stop!

5) Arizona must lead the country by becoming the only state in the union that prohibits race day medication. I realize the caliber of horses we have in this state but if you want to have integrity, race day medication must stop. I have owned horses from top grade to bottom of the barrel. I know the challenges. Let Arizona be a leader.

I feel bad for the good guys at Yavapai Downs. They are suffering becuse corruption and mismangment has reared it's ugly head at yet another Amreican racetrack. Come on people, wake up and join the 2000's!
We have the best gambling game in the world. Let's clean it up and share it with the world!!!!!!

highnote
07-29-2011, 03:27 AM
Isn't everything you hear from them about takeout?

Short answer: No.

Signal availability
Medication
IRS withholding
Helping the horseplayer's voice be heard

and much more

highnote
07-29-2011, 03:30 AM
Nice post Cardinal!