Arizona Racing

Arizona Commission Meeting: 'The Eyes Are On Us'

If there's a main takeaway from Tuesday's Arizona Racing Commission Meeting, it's an acknowledgement from officials and track management that the racing industry is monitoring Turf Paradise closely. "We've got to do a better job at coming up with answers and coming up with solutions," said commissioner Rory Goree, arguably the most outspoken member of the commission about Turf Paradise's poor equine safety record. "I'm hopeful that here, in the near future, we as a commission will be able to talk about some of the solutions and ideas and make...

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Safety Featured at AZ Commission Meeting

At a special Arizona Racing Commission Meeting Wednesday, Turf Paradise's equine safety record was once again a serious bone of contention, with commissioner Rory Goree calling the track's equine fatality numbers "deplorable." In her routine track safety report, Sue Gale, the Arizona Department of Gaming's chief veterinarian, explained that 22 horses have died at Turf Paradise since the start of the meet, on Nov. 5 of last year--nine racing-related fatalities, five during training, and eight due to illness. The racing-related catastrophic injury rate works out to 2.8 fatalities per 1000...

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Turf Paradise Race Dates Approved, But Doubts Remain Over Meet

In a special meeting Monday morning, the Arizona Racing Commission formally approved the proposed 2021-2022 race dates for Turf Paradise--Nov. 5 through May 7--but hard practical questions remain over what participation at that meet could look like due to an ongoing standoff between the Arizona horsemen and Turf Paradise management. As a result of welfare concerns springing from a 2020-2021 Turf Paradise race meet marred by a high number of equine fatalities, the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (AZHBPA) have stated they will not sign any race-meet contract until...

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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 Racing Legislation Introduced

Legislation has been introduced in Arizona to modernize gaming at tracks and OTBs in the Grand Canyon State. Senate Bill 1794, introduced by Sen. David Gowan, would authorize historic horse racing [HHR] and stands to generate up to $140 million in new tax revenues. The bill is set to be heard in a Senate committee on Tuesday. Since 2004, according to, Arizona has seen pari-mutuel handles drop by $55 million a year and purses drop by $5 million a year as live racing attendance has dropped 45%. During the...

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Braddick New Racecaller at Turf Paradise

Turf Paradise has hired veteran and international race caller Craig Braddick for the 2021 Winter meeting, starting Jan. 4, 2021, the track announced Wednesday. "It's an exciting challenge to call five days per week, but I've always enjoyed that," Braddick said. "I want to do all I can to positively promote Turf Paradise and grow a fanbase for horse racing in my adopted home state of Arizona. We have some great horsemen and I expect the racing to be extremely competitive. I also want to be able to interact with...

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Arizona Dept. Gaming Launches Wellness Program

At the December Arizona Racing Commission meeting, Arizona Department of Racing steward Magdaleno Perez announced the launch of the Healthy Humans, Healthy Horses track wellness program, created to address the growing substance abuse problem at the state's racetracks by supporting racing participants who may be suffering from addiction. "I commend Magdaleno and the entire racing team in their diligent efforts to move this project forward," said ADGaming Director, Ted Vogt. "The Healthy Humans, Healthy Horses program will directly support Arizona horsemen and create a safer and healthier backside, driving us...

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AZHBPA to Turf Paradise Racing Proposal: We've Conditions Too

The Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (AZHBPA) would be amenable to Turf Paradise's latest proposal to conduct a live 2020-21 race meet as long as certain conditions of their own are met, according to a letter written by AZHBPA president Bob Hutton dated Friday and obtained by the TDN. "Because we are the heart and soul of horse racing in Arizona, we offer you all we have to help make Turf Paradise the venue for racing it can be and once was," Hutton wrote, pointing to the horsemen's horses,...

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Turf Paradise Facing Uncertain 2020-2021 Meet

Ongoing tensions between the management of Turf Paradise and Arizona-based horsemen is placing the upcoming 2020-2021 meet under a cloud of uncertainty. Last week, Turf Paradise released a press release detailing plans to push back its opening day from Oct. 17 to Friday, Nov. 27. The revised dates meant an overall reduction in live race days from 133 to 110. "We are working with AZHBPA [Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association] president Bob Hutton as to a date when the horses can begin to arrive in the stable area," said...

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Turf Paradise 'Not Going Out of Business' Over Stronach Simo Signal Dispute

Three days into a state-mandated simulcast standoff that has resulted in Arizona horseplayers being unable to wager on signals distributed by a subsidiary of The Stronach Group (TSG), management at Turf Paradise issued a press release to try and quell rumors that the track would be closing because of its inability to accept wagers on popular winter tracks. "Turf Paradise is not going out of business. The Phoenix-based not closing its doors," stated the first line of an update posted on the track's website signed by Turf Paradise general...

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