Turf Paradise

Concerns Over Track Conditions, Veterinary Shortage as Turf Paradise Meet Looms

Once again, issues of horse and rider safety at Turf Paradise were a bone of contention during the latest Arizona Racing Commission meeting Thursday, due to a shortage of attending veterinarians at the track and concerns over the overall state of the facility. The upcoming Turf Paradise meet is scheduled to start on Nov. 5 and run through May 7 next year. There are roughly between 664 and 700 horses currently stabled and training there, with around 1,500 eventually anticipated. But according to Sue Gale, the Arizona Department of Gaming's...

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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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Turf Paradise Fall Race Dates in Jeopardy Over Safety Concerns

The upcoming fall race meet at Turf Paradise, scheduled to run Nov. 5 through May 7, hangs in the balance over equine safety concerns after another contentious Arizona Racing Commission Meeting, Thursday. The Arizona horsemen, headed by the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (AZHBPA), currently refuse to sign the race-meet contract until a set of track maintenance upgrades, along with various other welfare and management-related requests, have been met. These concerns spring from a 2020-2021 Turf Paradise race-meet marred by a high number of equine fatalities. "We would like...

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The Week in Review: Vitali Starting a Horse at Saratoga Is Not OK

The system, whatever that has come to mean, failed badly last week when Marcus Vitali, one of the sport's most controversial trainers, was allowed to start a horse at Saratoga. Then again, should anyone have been surprised? This was just the latest example of this being a sport that is so dysfunctional, its regulatory systems so weak, that it is completely unable to police itself. Help is on its way. Some day, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) will be implemented and a central body led by the U.S....

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Turf Paradise and AmTote International Reach Agreement

Arizona's Turf Paradise Racetrack has reached an agreement with 1/ST TECHNOLOGY's AmTote International for multi-year totalisator services, featuring year-round simulcast wagering on track and an OTB network of 38 locations, a number anticipated to grow in excess of 50 in 2021. 1/ST TECHNOLOGY already services Turf Paradise fixed-odds wagering through its XB NET business. 1/ST TECHNOLOGY will upgrade Turf Paradise's in-venue terminals and totalisator platform. "We very much look forward to ushering in a new era at Turf Paradise from the wagering technology evolution perspective, in addition to our broader...

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Scott Stevens Retires

Veteran jockey Scott Stevens, one of only 35 riders in history to win in excess of 5,000 races, has announced his retirement after beining involved in a Feb. 24 spill at Turf Paradise. Stevens, 60, is the older brother of Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens. "He had an unbelievable career and he is my hero," Gary Stevens wrote on Twitter. Stevens went down in a turf race after another horse came over on him shortly after the start. He broke two vertebrae and his ribs as a result of...

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Sharp High on Hello Hot Rod

George Sharp had been repeatedly shut out in his attempts to add to his 14-horse racing stable in the claiming ranks, so he was bidding not to lose when he purchased recent stakes winner Hello Hot Rod (Mosler) (hip 672) for $335,000 during Tuesday's session of the Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale. "My agent Charlie Allen, who was at Fasig-Tipton, picked him out," Sharp said Tuesday evening from his Scottsdale, Arizona, home. "He picked out a few horses and I watched Hot Rod's races and the horse has a lot of...

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Turf Paradise To Re-Open Turf Course Jan. 25

The grass course at Turf Paradise, which management closed after conducting only three races over it the first two days of the meet Jan. 4 and 5, is now scheduled for a Jan. 25 reopening after having restoration work performed on its root system. Turf Paradise general manager Vincent Francia detailed the maintenance work and plans for the reopening of the seven-furlong infield course during the Jan. 14 Arizona Racing Commission meeting. "What happened with the turf course was nobody's fault," Francia claimed. "When we closed on March 14 [in...

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Vitali Resurfaces at Turf Paradise

Trainer Marcus Vitali started a horse Monday at Turf Paradise, finishing third in the Hank Mills Sr. S.s with Be Gone Daddy (Scat Daddy) in what was his first start since July 21, 2019. Vitali's career has been marked by numerous drug violations, suspensions and bans. His career stalled in 2019 when, in mid-July, he was suspended for 365 days by the Delaware Racing Commission for "interfering with and impeding an investigation being performed by the DTRC investigator along with Delaware Park Security staff." Delaware racing officials alleged that Vitali...

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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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Turf Paradise Getting Horse Influx From Pandemic Affected Tracks

By the time Turf Paradise opens Jan. 4 for Arizona's first live Thoroughbred racing since March 14, track management projects the horse population could top 1,200 for the five-day weekly, 84-date meet that runs through May 1. Turf Paradise general manager Vincent Francia said during the Dec. 10 Arizona Racing Commission meeting that 664 horses are currently stabled on the grounds, adding that "I expect by the end of the month that that figure is probably going to double." Francia explained that Turf Paradise is the recipient of a mixed...

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