Open Letter to Arizona Horsemen: “Horse Racing in Our State is Not Dead”

Lloyd Yother | AZHBPA

In an open letter from AZHBPA President Lloyd Yother to Arizona horsemen released on Monday, he vowed to “fight like hell” to ensure racing in the state is not dead.

Yother's letter is in response to Turf Paradise officials announcing last week that the track won't open as usual in November as the sale of the property is imminent.

“I have had a few days to evaluate Turf Paradise and Arizona Downs' announced decisions to not hold race meets in 2023 or 2024,” Yother wrote. “However, I am here to make sure everyone in Arizona is well aware that horse racing in our state is not dead, and I plan to fight like hell to make sure of that!

Yother highlighted that the decision to close Turf Paradise not only affects the horsemen, but also the entire equine industry within Arizona.

“The horsemen and horsewomen throughout Arizona will especially be negatively impacted, but also all who earn their living through the equine industry here in our great state,” Yother wrote. “Owners, trainers, grooms, hot-walkers, our breeding farms and staff, veterinarians, farriers, feed and tack stores, hay straw and alfalfa producers will experience a substantial negative economic impact.”

Yother also gave a glimpse of hope and indicated there were ongoing discussions with some as-of-yet unnamed organizations in an effort to keep racing going in The Grand Canyon State.

“While some discussions cannot be made public yet, I can tell you there are several entities interested in negotiating with Arizona horsemen to establish a race meet at an existing track or even possibly building a new facility,” he said. “There are still many avenues to consider that will save Arizona horse racing. There are even options that include the possibility of running a late race meet in 2023 or possibly early in 2024. If these don't pan out, our board will continue to exhaust every means available to bring horse racing back to Arizona in the very near future.”

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