A Phoenix church has conducted Easter sunrise services at Turf Paradise horse racetrack for the past 53 years. On Easter morning in Phoenix, Jesus is off to the races, where his biblical resurrection is celebrated every year at a sunrise service at the Turf Paradise horse racetrack.
People familiar with the Bible might get a mental image of an angry Jesus overturning tables of money in the temple courts from the book of Matthew, but the intersection of god and gambling has been a peaceful one since the sunrise services started at the track 53 years ago. “The sunrise service is a celebration, and the racetrack – even though we are a business that makes our money by gambling – we celebrate that,” Turf Paradise general manager Vincent Francia says. “It's good for us.”