Turf Paradise’s races are viewed at Off Track Betting locations from London to Dubai and from Flagstaff to Yuma. Wagering and attendance remain brisk. This past season more than 1,800 horses were stabled at our facility as trainers, jockeys, and horse owners continue to come to Turf Paradise for a chance to compete. They come from 18 states and three Canadian provinces. That’s about 150 more horses than last year and a tribute to the outreach efforts by so many.
Our purses have been about $11 million, an amount we hope to maintain or increase next year as a key part of one of the largest horseracing meets in the country.
Our contribution to the sport of horseracing merited a visit from Triple Crown winning jockey Victor Espinoza, who spoke with local reporters and state leaders about the vital role horseracing plays in Arizona’s economy.
Turf Paradise was once again honored to host its annual Wine, Women, and Horses Charity event in April which raised $53,000 for Child Crisis Arizona. Turf Paradise was also proud to host a Relay for Life event benefitting the American Cancer Society.
That’s in addition to special events such as Thanksgiving weekend, Super Saturday, and our Anniversary celebration marked by the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile. Once again the widow of the legendary Phoenix Suns Coach was on hand to commemorate the event.
Betting on the Kentucky Derby from Turf Paradise was up from the previous year.
Turf continues to bring new fans to the sport. Off Track Betting, wagering via smart phones, and social media are just some of the ways our sport reaches out to a new fan base. The track holds ‘Fiesta Sundays’ as horseracing becomes more popular with our state’s growing Hispanic population.
The impact Turf Paradise has on the Arizona economy can’t be understated, it’s $91 million a year according to a recent economic impact study.
With one of the longest racing seasons in the country, Turf Paradise gives fans more opportunities to see live, local horse races. It also gives those in the horseracing industry an opportunity to settle in for a long season as opposed to bouncing from city to city. It gives the backside a sense of community, that’s why there is a permanent place of worship and a full-time chaplain at the backside.
This is not to say there aren’t any challenges. Due to a changing sport, many tracks around the country have gone from five days a week to four. Here at Turf, we have kept five, affording horsemen more opportunities to race. Additionally, a southern Arizona tribe recently opened a massive casino not too far from us, despite opposition from Arizona’s Governor, congressional delegation, and state legislature. National and local challenges are very real. Why, for example, should this tribe be allowed massive gaming rights, and Turf Paradise be allowed none? Why should hundreds of thousands of fantasy sports players in Arizona be some of the few people in America that can’t play because many tribes don’t want to allow this?
Through all of the changes and challenges, there remains one constant, the thrill of watching thoroughbreds and quarter horses race to the finish line. It was compelling entertainment in 1956 and it remains so today.
Our 62nd season starts October 14th. We hope you can join us for season 62 and for many years to come. Ownership and management led by Jerry Simms and Vince Francia will continue to do its very best to do right by you. And as always, please let us know your thoughts and suggestions by writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org