Opening day attracted 88 entries for the nine-race program with a first post time of 12.30 PM (MST.) The highlight of the opening day is the $30,500 Hank Mills Sr. Stakes (6 ½ Furlongs) that has drawn a full field of twelve including three from the barn of Justin Evans, Pendleton, Raagheb and Black Ops.
The Hank Mills Sr. Stakes continues to honor the long time Turf Paradise starter and kicks off a series of 15 Thoroughbred stakes throughout the meet. March 12, 2021 is the date for some of the most eagerly awaited stakes races during the meet - the Phoenix Gold Cup and Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap both with $75,000 of guaranteed purses, and the Arizona Oaks and Turf Paradise Derby, both with $50,000 of guaranteed purses will be run on the same day.
Quarter Horse racing is a long-term staple at Turf Paradise, and the 2021 meet features 10 stakes races, commencing with the $12,5000 guaranteed Turf Paradise 870 Challenge on January 8, 2021 and the most valuable QH race of the meet, the $30,000 added Desert Classic Futurity scheduled on April 28, 2021. However, Quarter Horse fans will welcome the first QH races of the meet on January 5.
Purse money is up from $80,000 to $110,000 per day, given that the meet is starting with an estimated $4 million. Although there have been many challenges in 2020, the 2021 Turf Paradise race meet is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent years. Track General Manager, Vincent Francia said: “We are running this race meet primarily for the horsemen. It has been an incredible effort by everyone in very challenging times to pull everything together. Individual horsemen and women, the HBPA, state officials, and the Turf staff, all continue to play their part in making this meet a success.”
Fans will be limited initially to just 50 (though that may increase); only the ground floor and outside apron will be accessible to the public. The Clubhouse and Turf Club will not open for the duration of the meet. There will be no food or beverage service.
“Wearing of masks and social distancing is mandatory when on track,” said Francia. “We will adhere to all Coronavirus protocols as set forth by the State.”
With more than 50 OTB locations across the state and Turf Paradise able to be wagered on many platforms across the country, Turf Paradise will be increasing its social media presence and interaction with fans on their Facebook page and Twitter account. (@turf_paradise)
Additionally, Fans everywhere will be pleased to hear as no-one won the Grand Canyon Pick 6 Jackpot at the end of the abbreviated meet on March 14, the Pick 6 carryover pool will open at $28,009.06.
For further information, go to www.turfparadise.com.