|Amarillo Racetrack Breaks Ground
On Wednesday, June 19, a groundbreaking ceremony was held just west of Amarillo by Yellow Rose Entertainment, Inc., to mark the beginning of site preparation and eventual construction of Saddle Brook Park. Yellow Rose's proposed $14 million facility will host Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing when complete, with a simulcast pavilion slated for opening in May of 2003.
Dignitaries attending the ceremony included Amarillo Mayor Trent Sisemore, Saddle Brook Corporation Chief Executive Officer Drew Alexander, and Texas Racing Commission Vice Chairman R. Dyke Rogers.
Corporation officials said Saddle Brook Park would cover 285 acres, with room for 550 stalls, a simulcasting pavilion, and a grandstand that will be able to seat approximately 3,500 fans for live racing. The one-mile racing surface will have a 550-yard chute for Quarter Horse racing. There will also be an amphitheater that will seat up to 30,000 people in the track's infield.
The simulcasting pavilion will have over 300 television screens and will be open year-round for wagering on horse and Greyhound races. Saddle Park's contractors hope to build the racetrack and amphitheater concurrently with the pavilion. According to plans filed with the racing commission, the entire project could take almost two years to complete.
Saddle Brook is expected to employ about 350 people, and officials say it could generate close to $42.2 million for nearly 200,000 residents that live Amarillo, which lies about 400 miles northwest of Dallas. The park will be located 2 1/2 miles west of the Amarillo city limits on Interstate 40, very close the famous Cadillac Ranch.
"This will be a unique venue with the amphitheater," said R. Dyke Rogers, vice chairman of the Texas Racing Commission. "That's what will make this interesting."
Yellow Rose has contracted with local firms to design and oversee the construction of the track. Amarillo's HD&D Design is designing the fašade of the facility, which will have a southwestern feel, while A&S Steel Buildings will handle the construction project.
According to HD&D's Glen Oldham, "We've been able to come up with a building that reflects Amarillo and its heritage."
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Yellow Rose Entertainment's CEO, Drew Alexander, acknowledged the assistance that has been provided by many parties in getting the project off the ground, saying, "I have been blessed and surrounded by people who are dedicated."
Tom Persechino, senior director of marketing for the American Quarter Horse Association, was on hand at the groundbreaking. He commented about the track's plans, "From the AQHA's point of view, we're extremely excited."