#US RACING: Turf Paradise To Continue For Another 3 Years


Turf Paradise will operate for at least three more years under an agreement between track officials and Arizona horsemen.

Vince Francia, general manager of the Phoenix track, confirmed the agreement.

The track had been in danger of closing last year amid on-and-off talks for its sale, and its opening this year was delayed until January because of the uncertainty.

The new agreement “gives everybody a certain amount of certainty for the next three years,” Francia told Horse Racing Nation. “The race dates will go from Breeders’ Cup weekend, which is the first weekend of November, until Kentucky Derby day, which of course, is the first Saturday of May. It's about 105 days, racing four days a week, Monday through Thursday.”

The agreement requires approval by the Arizona Racing Commission, he said.

Total handle on Thoroughbred races at Turf Paradise’s meet, with only 54 days, was down 45 per cent from a year earlier, when it had 114 days of racing, according to the Daily Race Form report. But the average handle per Thoroughbred race was up 15 percent despite a slight drop in the average field size.

“It was a very good meet,” Francia said. “There was an abbreviated meet, to 50-some days, we paid out record purses. Not only good for our horsemen, but it attracted horses from California. And everything went really well.”

Francia said track owner Jerry Simms will continue to consider offers for the 213-acre property, where 103 acres is used by the racing operation and the rest is open for development.



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