Turf Paradise

New Site Plan for Turf Paradise, but Future Racing Still Hinges on Gaming Legalization

A conceptual site plan newly submitted to the city of Phoenix for the proposed industrial development at Turf Paradise calls for the closure of the track once the under-agreement sale goes forward and development begins. But the incoming owner is still floating the idea of resuming racing at the 67-year-old Thoroughbred venue in the future if historical horse race gaming gets legalized in Arizona. Audrey Jensen of the Phoenix Business Journal first reported Aug. 8 on the new details about the project, which has been named Winner's Circle Business Park....

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

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...

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Turf Paradise Won't Open in November as Sale of Property Nears Closing

The current ownership that is selling at Turf Paradise in Phoenix won't be opening the track in November as planned for its 2023-24 race meet. But horsemen are holding out hope that the incoming ownership will be able and willing to operate the remainder of the scheduled season from January through May 4 if the real estate deal closes as expected by mid-December. Turf Paradise management issued a statement via Facebook Tuesday afternoon confirming the decision. Also on Tuesday, an email message reportedly sent to Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective...

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Proposed HISA Rule Change: Emergency Power to Suspend Live Racing?

The opening months of 2019 were still fresh in California lawmakers' minds when they passed a bill that summer giving the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) emergency authority to suspend racing at a track without the hitherto required 10-day public notice period. The precipitating event, of course, was the spate of equine fatalities that had covered Santa Anita, and the racing industry in general, under a pall of public condemnation--the exact same kind of scrutiny Churchill Downs has faced these past few weeks, culminating with the announced switch of racing...

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Weekly Stewards And Commissions Rulings, May 2-8

Every week, the TDN publishes a roundup of key official rulings from the primary tracks within the four major racing jurisdictions of California, New York, Florida and Kentucky. Here's a primer on how each of these jurisdictions adjudicates different offenses, what they make public (or not) and where. With the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) having gone into effect on July 1, 2022, the TDN will also post a roundup of the relevant HISA-related rulings from the same week. California Track: Santa Anita Date: 05/05/2023 Licensee: Jens Frederick Larsen,...

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Turf Paradise Nears Sale for Development; Horsemen Eye Arizona Downs Revival

Turf Paradise in Phoenix is reportedly in the due-diligence phase of negotiations to be sold for development. Racing is expected to continue only as a placeholder for several more seasons while new uses for the 67-year-old venue go through the planning, approval and construction stages. The incoming owner of Arizona's primary commercial Thoroughbred track is expected to transition the property in pieces to "industrial and multi-family uses," according to the online media outlet Axios Phoenix, which first broke the story Apr. 12. Leroy Gessmann, the executive director of the Arizona...

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HISA Threatens Turf Paradise Simulcast Shutdown if Repairs Not Made

Despite entering into an agreement with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) to get Turf Paradise up to date on existing national safety regulations, sufficient repairs were not made to improve the condition of the railing and the Phoenix, AZ, track received a deadline of Apr. 1 for completion or be "prohibited from conducting Covered Horseracing." The news came via a press release from HISA. In January, HISA cited the track for non-compliance on Rules 2153 "racetrack facilities", 2154 "racetrack surface monitoring", 2168 "equine ambulance", 2262 "void claim", 2276...

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Noffsinger Named Prairie Meadows Track Superintendent

Ryan Noffsinger has been named track superintendent at Prairie Meadows. A third-generation horseman, Noffsinger has worked at tracks from California, Arizona, New Mexico and, most recently, in Florida. "In my 18 years working in various roles with track maintenance, I've been able to gain valuable knowledge at tracks like Del Mar, Turf Paradise, Zia Park, Sunland Park, Gulfstream Park West and Palm Meadows which will serve me well as Track Superintendent for Prairie Meadows," Noffsinger said. Prairie Meadows Vice President for Racing Derron Heldt added, "Ryan brings so much to...

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Weekly Rulings: Feb. 21-27

Every week, the TDN publishes a roundup of key official rulings from the primary tracks within the four major racing jurisdictions of California, New York, Florida and Kentucky. Here's a primer on how each of these jurisdictions adjudicates different offenses, what they make public (or not) and where. With the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) having gone into effect on July 1, the TDN will also post a roundup of the relevant HISA-related rulings from the same week. NEW HISA STEWARDS RULINGS The following rulings were reported on HISA's...

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Racetrack Surfaces: Where HISA's Rubber Meets the Road

The closer the clock ticks down to Nov. 4, when Turf Paradise's latest 130-day meet is scheduled to launch, the louder will the questions resound about the facility's historically checkered approach to equine welfare and safety. Near the midway point during last year's Turf Paradise meet, its equine fatality rate was more than 2.8 deaths per 1,000 starts. This compares to the national equine fatality rate of 1.39 per 1,000 starts last year. Between Oct. 10, 2021, and May 7, 2022, 11 horses were fatally injured during morning training at...

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One Life in a Box: Richard Hazelton

For nearly three years, a frayed cardboard box has hidden in the corner of a small apartment in the Westside of Los Angeles, buried from view by wooly blankets, a tennis racket with broken strings, worn clothes long earmarked for the thrift store and an old jacket with a broken zipper and patched leather sleeves. The box is filled mostly with creaky photo albums stuffed full of old newspaper clippings pasted onto faded paper, laminated win pictures--the plastic as brittle as sheet-ice--and handwritten letters. There are magazines and an old...

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First Starter Is A Winner for MGISW Bolt d'Oro

Spendthrift Farm's freshman sire Bolt d'Oro, a MGISW by Medaglia d'Oro, sired his first winner from his first starter Wednesday when his son Pop d'Oro captured a trial race at Turf Paradise in front-running fashion. He won by a length while stopping the clock in :52.03 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs. Owned and trained by Jose Luna Silva, the dark bay colt was bred in Arizona by H & E Ranch and is out of the Unbridled's Song mare Just Like Pop.

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