Muckleshoot Tribe Acquires Emerald Downs
Washington track will change ownership.
November 13, 2014
The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has reached agreement in principle with Northwest Racing Associates to acquire Emerald Downs, located in Auburn, Washington.
When the transaction closes in the next 60-to-90 days, the Tribe will assume full ownership and operational control from Northwest Racing Associates, which has operated the racetrack since its beginning in 1996.
This transaction is the culmination of the Muckleshoot Tribe’s support of Thoroughbred racing in Washington State over many years. The Tribe has been Emerald Downs’ landlord since 2002, when it acquired the 157-acre property on which Emerald Downs sits, and since 2004 the Tribe has invested more than $11 million in purse enhancements at Emerald Downs. Also, the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic has been the cornerstone of the Washington Cup series for Washington-bred horses. This year, Emerald hosted 16 American Quarter Horse races, led by $64,530 Bank of America Emerald Championship Challenge.
“The Tribe’s long-standing support of the state’s thoroughbred racing industry continues with this transaction,” said Muckleshoot Tribal Council Chair Virginia Cross. “It is the Tribe’s goal to keep the Thoroughbred horse racing industry as a viable part of our state’s economy. Emerald Downs sits in the center of the Tribe’s historical homeland and this transaction makes it an important part of our economic development program.”
After the transaction closes the Tribe will undertake an evaluation of steps to strengthen the performance of Emerald Downs. Notwithstanding a number of legislatively authorized enhancements over the years, and the tremendous efforts of Northwest Racing Associates’ President Ron Crockett and his partners, Thoroughbred horse racing has struggled in an increasingly difficult environment both in Washington State and nationally.
“My goal has always been to preserve this important industry,” Crockett said. “I have accomplished that goal and this is a now good time for the Tribe to step in and bring Emerald Downs to the next level.”
Crockett has agreed to serve as a consultant to the Tribe to help with the transition to new ownership and the current management team will remain in place.
The 2015 live racing season, the 20th in track history, is scheduled to run 70 days from April through September including the 80th running of the Grade 3 Longacres Mile in August. The stable area opens February 1.
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