A group of investors hopes to bring horse racing back to the area through the development of an “equestrian theme park” in Rathdrum.
Pleasant View Enterprises has purchased 200 acres just outside the city limits. Plans call for residential development on 65 acres, two show arenas, a mile-long race track, stables and an RV park.
The development is aimed at families “who want to keep a horse in the neighborhood,” said Ross Yearout, one of Pleasant View Enterprises’ three founders. They’ll be able to take advantage of bridle trails, gallop paths and stables, Yearout said. The sale of home lots will help finance $50 million worth of horse facilities, he said. The company is also planning an initial public offering to raise money and seeking private investors.
Yearout said the development is modeled on Spruce Meadows, near Calgary, Alberta. That project started 30 years ago when a landowner built jumping facilities so his daughter could compete, and it grew into a world-class sports venue, he said.
Pleasant View Enterprises is working on an application to annex the 200 acres to the city of Rathdrum, so the development can get water and sewer service. To operate a track, the facility also needs a gaming license from Idaho, Yearout said. The company hopes to begin sales of residential lots this year, with the first horse shows and races in 2008.
Yearout said the founders envision a race track that would operate 50 or 60 days a year, drawing horse owners from the Inland Northwest, parts of Montana and southern Canada. “We’ll try to be a regional track,” he said.
Yearout is a former IBM employee who also worked at Spokane’s closed Playfair track and raised and trained horses. The firm’s other founders are Colt Courtright, a health care economist from Vancouver, Wash., who shows horses, and Walt Wolf, a Spokane insurance agent.