Arizona Downs

Continent's Winningest Thoroughbred Beats Quarter Horses

Six Ninety One (Congrats), currently North America's winningest Thoroughbred with nine victories in 2021, won an 870-yard Quarter Horse race by a nose Tuesday at Arizona Downs. "The victory doesn't count toward the 9-year-old gelding's lead as the winningest Thoroughbred, though. Equibase separately ranks Quarter Horse races in their own category. But Six Ninety One still has a two-win cushion over four other Thoroughbreds tied with seven victories apiece. Either way, 10 total mixed-meet victories through nearly seven months of racing is a pretty noteworthy achievement. In all of 2020,...

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Six Ninety One Rolls to Ninth '21 Win

Six Ninety One (Congrats) assertively stalked outside then pounced on the pacemaker entering the far turn to win his ninth race of the year Tuesday at Arizona Downs. The victory augmented the 9-year-old gelding's lead as the winningest horse in North America for 2021. No other Thoroughbred on the continent has won more than six so far this year. The most noteworthy aspect of Six Ninety One's achievement is that he has racked up those nine wins in just the first six months of the season from 12 starts. In...

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Arizona Downs Gives Fans a Shot at 100K

Arizona Downs will offer fans a chance at winning up to $100,000 with just one swing of a golf club. The contest will take place June 30, July 28 and Aug. 25. Sign up, available on contest days, is open to fans in attendance for the day's final race. Prior to that race, a golf strip will be stretched across the winner's circle, with a bucket placed 100 yards out. A total of 10 fans will be randomly selected from that day's entries--nine will get one shot with a pitching...

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Arizona Downs Names Weiss General Manager

Michael Weiss, a longtime racing industry professional with deep ties to Arizona horse racing, has been named the new General Manager at Arizona Downs. Weiss will lead preparations to restore the track and operate the 2021 return of live racing to the Prescott Valley facility. He most recently served as General Manager of Rillito Park Racetrack in Tucson and is well-known for pioneering the PRISE educational program for the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program. He is also a former student in the RTIP and currently serves as a...

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Arizona Horsemen Secure Some Disputed Purse Funds

At the six-month mark of the shutdown of live racing in Arizona that is the result of both the pandemic and a prolonged fight over off-track betting (OTB) privileges, the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (AZHBPA) has reportedly secured some of the disputed money from the horsemen's account that had been controlled by Turf Paradise and placed it into a trust to pay purses if and when racing resumes elsewhere. This news was shared in the form of a widely circulated email that made the rounds on social media...

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AZ Breeders: 'No Future' Without Commission Help to Kickstart Live Racing

Thursday's Arizona Racing Commission (AZRC) meeting opened with the chairman Rory Goree asking stakeholders to "refrain from discussing anything" related to a controversial appeal over who controls purse account money that is scheduled for the October meeting. And it ended with Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms apologizing for the frustration the state's Thoroughbred community feels over his decision not to incur liability by running a 2020-21 meet during a pandemic. In between those brief, book-ended statements that define the currently closed status of racing in Arizona, commissioners heard a slew...

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Uncertain Future for Arizona Racing Industry

At the Arizona Racing Commission meeting last month, representatives from the state's flagship racetrack, Turf Paradise, announced that they wouldn't be running their scheduled 2020-2021 race meet between November and May, blaming a variety of factors including health concerns due to the global pandemic, and economic question marks surrounding the operations of Off Track Betting (OTBs) facilities. That decision has sown seeds of confusion and doubt among many involved in the state's racing industry--a scenario complicated by ongoing friction between the horsemen and Turf Paradise management. "Definitely a huge impact,"...

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Turf Paradise to Remain Open Extra Ten Days

Turf Paradise management and the Arizona horsemen have come to an agreement that will see the track remain open for stabling an extra 10 days. The track was scheduled to close its doors to the roughly 740 horses currently stabled there on the last day of April. Nevertheless, the track will remain open those extra 10 days for stabling only, and not training, meaning exercise will be limited to the barn area. "If this thing lasts longer than those 10 [days], then I think we'll probably be able to get...

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Arizona HBPA to Gaming: Pull Turf Paradise Signal from Stronach Affiliates

The Arizona racing industry is now well into month two of the simulcasting stand-off between an arm of The Stronach Group (TSG) tasked with distributing the company's signal and the Arizona Department of Gaming. In a leveraging bid, the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) this week voted to withdraw the Turf Paradise signal from all Stronach Group affiliates. According to a letter from the Arizona HBPA to the Arizona Department of Gaming dated Mar. 11, such a move would involve the following TSG-affiliated entities: Santa Anita, Golden Gate...

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Mixed Signals in Arizona Simulcasting Dispute
Mixed Signals in Arizona Simulcasting Dispute

The simulcasting stand-off between an arm of The Stronach Group (TSG) tasked with distributing the company's signal and the Arizona Department of Gaming has nearly reached the two-week mark, and the affected stakeholders are sending out mixed signals of their own as to its impact. The issue surrounds a state law passed last year requiring all simulcast providers that send their races into Arizona to offer the products uniformly among all tracks and all their Off-Track Betting parlors (OTB). On Jan. 24 of this year, the Arizona Racing Commission passed a...

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