Vincent Francia

New Buyer for Turf Paradise Emerges

The current Turf Paradise owner is courting a new buyer who just emerged last week as a potential savior for keeping racing alive at the state's otherwise-closing cornerstone track. On Thursday, the Arizona Racing Commission (AZRC) voted to extend Turf Paradise's simulcasting privileges through Nov. 12 while regulators commenced a due diligence vetting process that could greenlight the sale. The stated goal among stakeholders is to start a race meet in January under new ownership at the Phoenix oval. The current management announced back on Aug. 1 that the 67-year-old...

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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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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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After Delays and Discord, Turf Paradise Approved For Meet

Turf Paradise got unanimous 3-0 approval from the Arizona Racing Commission on Thursday to open its backstretch by the end of the month in anticipation of an 84-date, Jan. 4-May 1 racing season. The meet will mark the first Thoroughbred racing in Arizona since Mar. 14, when Turf Paradise ended its spring season prematurely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, Turf Paradise withdrew its dates request for a traditional 2020-21 autumn-to-spring meet, citing liability concerns related to COVID-19. In between, the Arizona Downs summer meet never ran because local...

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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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