|Racetrack And Amphitheater To Be Built in Amarillo
Yellow Rose Entertainment Inc., along with strategic managing partner Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, have formally announced plans to construct a privately funded horse racing facility and amphitheater - Saddle Brook Park and Yellow Rose Amphitheater - along Interstate 40 near Amarillo, Texas. The announcement was made at a press conference at the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center and Museum in Amarillo.
It's the first project of its kind; to combine a pari-mutuel horse racing facility with an outdoor music entertainment venue. The $14 million project will cover 275 acres two miles west of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle.
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, and the project is expected to create more than 400 jobs for the Amarillo area.
"The region has needed something like this for a long time," said E. Drew Alexander, President and Chief Executive Officer for Yellow Rose Entertainment Inc. "It's time for good music and fast horses, so let's race!"
Alexander, a longtime Amarillo Businessman and horse owner and breeder, conceived the idea for the partnership between the two venues.
"We view the complex as a hybrid track - a multi-use facility in a market craving horse racing and region hungry for live music," said Todd Harmon, Director and Investment Banker of Yellow Rose Entertainment.
The facility will be located near the famous Cadillac Ranch art structure in the middle of horse country, where horse racing fans have traveled hundreds of miles to visit the nearest racetrack.
"We're going to bring horse racing and world-class entertainment to the people of Amarillo," Alexander said.
To assist with the development and operation of the racetrack, Yellow Rose Entertainment signed a 10-year strategic management contract with Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, which opened with plenty of fanfare near Dallas in 1997. The North Texas racetrack annually ranks among the nation's Top 10 racetracks in average daily on-track attendance (approximately 9,200 visitors) and on-track wagering ($1.3 million).
"Our alignment with Lone Star Park gives us the experience of one of the nation's most successful horse racing operations," said Don Essary, Vice President of Racing and Director of Saddle Brook Park.
"Many of our top executives have assisted with multiple openings of other racetracks and bring a wealth of experience and resources to Saddle Brook Park," said Corey S. Johnsen, Lone Star Park's President and General Manager. "We think there is great potential for additional
race dates in Texas, especially in undeveloped markets such as Amarillo. We're strong believers in horse racing and entertainment as a partnership, and commend their unique concept."
As economic impact study by Margaret A. Ray, an associate professor and visiting research professor at the University of Arizona, estimated the Yellow Rose Entertainment complex to bring $42.23 million to the region annually.
Approximately 150 area residents will fill full and part time positions within the company.
Saddle Brook Park hopes to stage up to 30 days of racing annually for Thoroughbreds and American Quarter Horses. Before beginning construction, Yellow Rose Entertainment awaits final approval from the Texas Racing Commission of its recently acquired pari-mutuel racing license. That approval is expected no later than July.
The racetrack will be a seven-furlong oval (or seven-eighths of a mile) with a six-furlong backstretch chute and a 550-yard chute for Quarter Horses. Lights will be installed for night racing. The Grandstand will be three levels with a permanent seating capacity of 4,000. There will be a simulcast pavilion on the ground floor for wagering on horse racing within the state and across the country. The second level will have 14 VIP suites. The third level will feature box seating, an exclusive Jockey Club and enclosed dinging.
Officials hope to have the simulcast pavilion open by the end of the year.
The Yellow Rose Amphitheater, which will seat 30,000 will be situated in the racetrack's infield. There will be 10,000 fixed reserved seats, room for more than 20,000 on the lawn and a large festivals area for vendors and sponsors.
"The plans are to produce five or six festivals each year with approximately 61/2 hours of music for each show," said Monte Griffin, Vice President of Music and Entertainment and Executive Director of Yellow Rose Amphitheater. "There are more than five million people within 300 miles of Amarillo that rarely have the opportunity to see stadium-quality acts. With the size of our venue and a fresh market, we hope to attract the quality acts that, traditionally, have passed by the area."
Additional shows will be booked as the venue matures. Concerts will be scheduled for the summer of 2002.
Yellow Rose Amphitheater has teamed with several local charities in a focused fund raising effort. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Special Olympics, The Boy Scouts of America, and the Randall County D.A.R.E. program will provide volunteers for show dates.
In turn, Yellow Rose Amphitheater will donate 20% of all concessions and parking profits to participating charities.