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Local Affiliate News for Arizona HBPA

Az Ridge goes long for Hasta La Vista Handicap
5/4/2015 3:34:23 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 5/3/2015

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Az Ridge looks to stamp himself the horse of the meet as he leads a field of six in the $35,000 Hasta La Vista Handicap at Turf Paradise on Tuesday. The 1 7/8-mile grass event is the traditional closing-day fixture as the Phoenix track brings down the curtain on its 144-day meet.

Owned by the Sawyer Cattle Company and trained by Dan McFarlane, Az Ridge, a 6-year-old son of Toccet, has had quite the meet. He ran second in the Hank Mills Sr. on dirt and was third in the Cotton Fitzsimmons on turf, both at a mile. He’s gotten better with more distance, easily winning the Turf Paradise Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf Feb. 14 and romping by 6 1/4 lengths in the Wildcat Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf here April 4.

That’s the traditional prep for this race, and while he must deal with another four furlongs and a trip he’s never tried, he ran on that day as if he can handle it. Geovanni Franco rides the 124-pound highweight.

Crushed It, owned by Bada Beng Racing LLC and trained by Mike Chambers, is next in the weights at 120 pounds and comes off a smart win going a mile here.

Also on the closing-day card is the $35,000 ATBA Spring Sales Stakes. The five-furlong event for 2-year-olds who were consigned to the 2014 fall sale drew a field of nine, headed by the gelding Taste’s Secret and the filly Chargin Bye, romping winners of their debuts here April 18.

Hasta La Vista Handicap (race 8)

Key contenders

Az Ridge (Last 3 Beyers: 90-94-95)

* Boasts seven Beyer Speed Figures in the 90s in the last year. Only one rival, Stoney Fleece, can boast of hitting the 90 Beyer mark, and that came some time ago.

* Has proven to be a real pro as he’s won 12 of 37. He’s shown the versatility, too, to give his rider options, and his tractability should help as he heads into uncharted waters distance-wise.

Crushed It (Last 3 Beyers: 82-55-80)

* Was well regarded enough last fall to earn a start in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita, though he was no factor there as he stumbled badly at the start and finished last of 11 at 94-1.

* Came here after a freshening and was a game winner here April 18 going a mile, showing enough tactical speed to be prominent from the start.

Pacific Night (Last 3 Beyers: 78-73-78)

* Has won four of his last five, three of those wins coming on this grass course.

* Has some distance experience as he finished a close third, beaten just a half-length (was awarded second via disqualification) going 1 1/2 miles on this course March 28.

Arizona Investigating Abnormal Test Results
4/8/2015 9:28:21 AM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 4/7/2015 6:17:16 PM

The Arizona Department of Racing is looking into a possible cause for abnormal test results involving seven different racehorses that were euthanized during the current Turf Paradise 2014-15 meet, officials said April 7.

Officials said that during the current meet, more than 1,000 routine post-race blood samples have been tested by an independent laboratory with no signs of two specific prohibited substances. "However, seven horses that were euthanized on-track after being injured catastrophically during a race tested positive for those two prohibited substances," a release from the Arizona Department of Racing said.

The substance wasn't identified in the release.

Officials said the first positive sample was taken from a horse on Nov. 25, 2014, and the most recent positive result came from a horse on Feb. 23, 2015. All seven of the blood samples were taken post-mortem as is normal protocol for on-track euthanasia.

"It is believed that the cause of the prohibited substances may be linked to the euthanasia process," officials said in the release. "At this time in the investigation, the horses appear to have no connection other than all being euthanized on track. There is no wrongdoing suspected by those involved with the horses, nor does it appear that the substances were being given to the horses prior to racing.

"The state is continuing to investigate these abnormal findings and is working closely with all those involved. All findings will be shared with state and federal officials for further review once the investigation is complete."

AZ: Rillito Working with Race Industry Students
1/23/2015 11:55:35 AM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 1/22/2015 6:40:16 PM Last Updated: 1/23/2015 8:40:29 AM

Rillito Park Race Track in Tucson will be extending its reach to the classroom through newly developed cooperation with the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program.

Interested students have the opportunity to learn about the industry through working at the track and in the classroom with projects related to the local racetrack.

Program director Douglas Reed said, "Students in the program already work with real life applied projects in the classroom and this is an extension and enhancement of that."

Students have begun to work on social media, communications, group sales, and handicapping as Rillito preps for the 2015 race meet that begins Feb. 7. Additionally, two classes in the spring semester will include projects closely tied to race operations at Rillito.

Francesca LeDonne, a senior in the RTIP, has worked on social media for Rillito through updating the Facebook page and creating a Twitter account.

"I think it's important for students who don't have a lot of experience around horses or the track but love racing and want to work in the industry to have the experience before they make their final decision about pursuing a career in racing," LeDonne said.

The program has been given its own office at the track, according to Rillito Park general manager Michael Weiss.

Weiss said he is looking forward to working with faculty and students.

"Students can see how much work really goes into a race meet," he said. "From a classroom standpoint they can see it all and from an individual standpoint, it's what do you think you want to do at the racetrack?"

Students will also work on projects related to Rillito's operations in the fall semester.

AZ: Turf Paradise slates 42 stakes
8/21/2014 10:28:59 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 08/20/2014 3:08 PM

Turf Paradise unveiled a $1.6 million stakes schedule as the Phoenix track prepares for its 59th racing season. The 144-day meet opens Oct. 18 and runs through May 5. The 42-stakes roster is headed by the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup on Feb. 14.

This will be the first meeting with phone wagering. That, plus a reduction in dates and races, will result in an increase of between 5 percent and 10 percent for overnight purses. Phone wagering was signed into law last May and went into effect this month.

“Our goal is to have phone betting operational by opening day,” said general manager Vince Francia.

There will be a 10-day reduction in race days from last year, and the daily cards will be eight-race programs, a reduction of one race per day.

“We have designed a new-look meet working with the Arizona HBPA,” said Francia.

Racing will be conducted five days a week, primarily Saturdays through Wednesdays. Two notable live-race Fridays will be the first day of the Breeders’ Cup, Oct. 31, and Kentucky Oaks Day, May 1. Post time will be 12:55 p.m. from opening day until March 8, when it moves to 1:25 p.m.

Arizona still working on ADW regulations
8/8/2014 1:29:07 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 08/07/2014 3:51 PM

Although a law allowing for account wagering went into effect two weeks ago in Arizona, the practice won’t likely be available to residents of the state until early 2015, according to officials at the Arizona Department of Racing.

The department of racing is currently writing the regulations that will govern account wagering, according to Greg Stiles, the public information officer for the department. After the regulations are approved by the commission – the department of racing does not need to put out its rules for public comment – the state will immediately begin to take applications from companies interested in offering account wagering in the state, Stiles said.

“My best guess, I think we will be able to go at the start of 2015,” Stiles said. “If it’s sooner, well, that’s a bonus for everyone.”

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law authorizing telephone betting on horse races in May. Seven years earlier, the legislature had cracked down on the practice by banning account wagering with the support of the state’s racetracks, which had objected to account-wagering companies taking bets without paying fees to the tracks.

The legislation requires ADW companies to pay the fees to tracks. It also continues to bar customers from placing their bets over the Internet, limiting the practice to telephone betting. It is unclear whether the regulations will allow for betting through the increasingly popular wagering apps available for mobile devices.

Arizona Bill Legalizing ADW Sent to Governor
4/25/2014 10:14:10 AM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 4/24/2014 8:33:04 PM

A bill that would allow legal advance deposit wagering in Arizona beat the legislative deadline in the early morning hours April 24 and has been sent to Gov. Jan Brewer for her signature.

"We know it's going to have a positive effect on horse racing in Arizona and we're very much looking forward to it," said Vince Francia, general manager of Turf Paradise in Phoenix. "Of course, ADW has been alive and well here for some time. They've just been doing it illegally."

Brewer has 10 days to consider the legislation, SB 1282 authored by Sen. Steve Pierce, a Republican. Francia said he does not expect it to encounter difficulty after it managed to sail through the Arizona House 51-5, and then by the Senate on a 23-3 vote later that same night. it was one of two final bills to be passsed prior to adjournment of the session.

"We're generating enough letters to the governor's office as a way to make sure she's aware of how much we want her to sign it," Francia said.

Francia gave credit for the success of the bill to Pierce, who he said is owns and breeds horses, "and is very much involved in racing." He also credited the efforts of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association in pushing the legislation.

While some 37 states have already approved ADW or phone betting, Francia said Arizona has depended on a large off-track betting network of 62 satellite facilities. He said he did not expect the introduction of ADW to adversely affect them.

"It's more of a social thing," he said of the OTBs. "While betting by phone or computer is solitary."

Likewise, he said attendance at Turf Paradise has been on the increase for the past five years, thanks to social media efforts, and is currently up 8% over last year. He doesn't expect that trend to reverse.

"We've been using social media methods to reach young people, and when you do that, they respond," Francia said.

AZ: Trainer Diodoro sets track record for wins at a meet
3/31/2014 10:47:41 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 03/30/2014 2:03 PM

It was nice enough for trainer Robertino Diodoro that his star sprinter L. A. Weekend easily captured the Coyote Handicap at Turf Paradise on Saturday. But the cherry on top was that the win gave him 104 for the current meet at the Phoenix track, tying the record for the most wins in a meet there.

And only about 20 minutes later in the next race, the record was his, as his Apply stormed home to give him meet victory No. 105.

"Considering all the good trainers who have come here before me, I consider it an accomplishment," said Diodoro, 40. "I want my 1,000th win [his total was at 997 Thoroughbred wins through Saturday] to take place here since I now call Phoenix home."

He also has a stable in Southern California.

Turf Paradise Jocks Refuse to Ride, Citing Insurance Concerns
3/27/2014 9:44:42 AM  -  Paulick Report 

Posted: 03.25.2014


Today’s race card at Turf Paradise was cancelled after the jockey colony there learned of updates to injured rider Anne von Rosen’s financial status.

Von Rosen was involved in a spill at Turf Paradise two weeks ago which left her paralyzed from the waist down. On Tuesday, she received word from track officials that the money provided by the track’s insurance policy has run out. The situation brought to light an issue that jockeys have been concerned about for some time: insurance.

“Riders felt that they could not go out there and ride knowing that if something happens, they could end up like Anne is right now: looking for money just to take care of her the way she should be taken care of,” said Darrell Haire, regional manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “They felt that it’s a safety issue, a safety concern. They know how dangerous this is, that they could be physically destroyed. They take that risk and they know it, but financially too … they have families.”

Von Rosen was injured in the first race on March 11 when mount Panchita Bonita collapsed after the completion of the race, dumping von Rosen and then falling on top of her. She has since undergone multiple surgeries and was preparing to transfer to a hospital in Denver to begin rehabilitation when she received the news on Tuesday that her hospital bills currently total over $600,000 (not including ambulance and physicians’ fees, or transportation costs to Denver).

The insurance limit for on-track accidents at Turf Paradise is $500,000. The industry standard is $1,000,000, and even that isn’t always adequate depending upon the nature of a rider’s injuries. The Jockeys’ Guild released a statement last week outlining the need for $1 million insurance minimums for tracks in states where riding accidents are not covered by workers’ compensation. Hall of Fame riders Mike Smith and Gary Stevens visited the Turf Paradise colony the same day to lend an ear to jockeys’ concerns in regards to safety.

Jockeys’ representatives met with Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms one month ago to express concern over the low limit to the insurance policy, and even pointed out that in the case of serious injury, a rider could be left in the lurch.

Von Rosen’s accident occurred weeks later.

Craig Hospital, which specializes in neurological injuries, in Denver requires an up-front payment of $150,000 before von Rosen can begin her 60-day course of rehabilitation. According to Jockeys’ Guild spokeswoman Mindy Coleman, Turf Paradise officials offered von Rosen $43,000 toward that up-front payment if she would waive her right to weekly disability payments and other long-term benefits provided by the insurance program.

“When a rider is catastrophically injured like this, they need to focus on getting better, not who’s paying what bills,” said Coleman.

Turf Paradise general manager Vince Francia said that while he was unfamiliar with von Rosen’s specific coverage, his understanding was that the $43,000 was offered out of the track’s pocket, and that the money had made up the difference between the available funds and Craig Hospital’s required down payment.

Francia said that in response to the riders’ concerns, the track is extending the on-track accident insurance coverage to $1 million, and the additional coverage will be in place by Wednesday morning. Francia also said that the meeting to inform jockeys of the update took place on Tuesday morning, hours before they announced their decision not to ride.

“We were all in agreement,” he said. “Nobody was arguing over where it should be $500,000 or $1,000,000 … so, when they walked out with 30 minutes to post, it came as a surprise.”

Francia said that the track had looked into boosting the on-track accident coverage and had been waiting for calls back this week. The contract was taken on by a London-based company, and the time difference was the reason for the hold-up on official paperwork until Wednesday morning.

For the jockeys’ part, Haire said they did not feel comfortable riding until the paperwork was received and the extra coverage was in place.

Haire said although the choice to ride is left up to riders individually, he expects that once the paperwork comes through on Wednesday, they will likely be back in the saddle.

AZ: Arvizu to be Presented Humantarian Award
3/19/2014 12:35:56 PM  -  AZ HBPA 

Posted: 3/19/14

As some of you may have seen previous news casts or articles, Jockey Anne Von Rosen was critically injured last Tuesday at Turf Paradise in the first race.

Jockey Rodolfo Arvizu was behind the incident and saw the horse collapse on her. Without any regard for his own safety he jumped from his mount and got the horse off her and released her foot that was caught in the stirrup.

The horsemen’s organization and Turf Paradise will be honoring him for these heroic actions at the Horsemen’s Spring Fling Wednesday March 19 at 6:00 p.m. under the tent at Turf Paradise.

He will be given “The Arizona Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Humanitarian Award” Presenting the award will be Arizona HBPA President J. Lloyd Yother, Darrell Haire, Jock Guild Representative, Hall of Fame Jockeys Mike Smith & Gary Stevens along with Scott Stevens first recipient of this award.

We would invite any of the media to join us in this presentation.

AZ: Az Ridge maintains consistency by taking Hank Mills Sr. Handicap
12/23/2013 11:21:42 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 12/21/2013 6:41 PM

L.A. Weekend may be the reigning horse of the meet at Turf Paradise on the strength of his superb sprint form, but Az Ridge showed again in Saturday’s $35,000 Hank Mills Sr. Handicap he may be the most versatile and possibly best older horse on the circuit as he notched a fourth straight win at the Phoenix track and his fifth in his last six starts.

Owned by the Sawyer Cattle Company and trained by Dan McFarlane, who notched career Thoroughbred win 999 here, Az Ridge stumbled at the start of the mile main track event, sat fifth early, but made a strong early inside move to grab the lead going into the backstretch. He opened up from there under Kelly Bridges and won comfortably by 2 1/4 lengths. Mysterious Soul chased the winner and stayed on to be a clear second, five lengths ahead of Hurricane Lake, who rallied for third in the field of nine. Spanish Jazz, the 8-5 favorite after three wins in four starts, chased the pace but gave way badly, eventually being eased.

Az Ridge ran the distance in 1:38.34 and paid $6.40 as the second choice. The winner’s share of $20,832 gives him earnings of $169,734 from 7 wins in 23 starts. To show his versatility, his last five wins have come at 1 1/16 miles on dirt here, at a mile on dirt here (three times), and at 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt here.

Turf Paradise: Hank Mills Sr. lures Az Ridge
12/19/2013 1:54:15 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 12/19/2013 1:05 PM

Az Ridge continues his push to become the top older male at Turf Paradise as he goes for his fifth win in his last six starts in Saturday’s $35,000 Hank Mills Sr. Handicap. The mile main-track event drew a field of nine.

Az Ridge, a 4-year-old owned by the Sawyer Cattle Company and trained by Dan McFarlane, has been wonderfully versatile in his racing career. He was stakes placed routing on dirt at Fairplex in Southern California in September 2012, stakes placed routing on turf here over a year ago, won the Luke Kruytbosch routing on dirt here Dec. 31, won mile races here March 3 and April 7, and then came back after nearly eight months off to easily win the Cactus Wren – a dirt sprint – here Nov. 23. A son of Toccet, Az Ridge moves back to a route, which is his best game, with two strong recent works, including a bullet five-furlong move in 59.40 seconds here Dec. 15. Regular rider Kelly Bridges will be aboard Az Ridge, the 120-pound highweight.

His main challenge may come from up-and-coming local Spanish Jazz and Southern California raider D’ Obsession.

Spanish Jazz, trained by Robertino Diodoro, has been superb in his seven starts, with four wins and three seconds. Spanish Jazz was second to the meet’s top sprinter, L.A. Weekend, in an optional-claiming dirt sprint here Oct. 23 and then easily won going about 7 1/2 furlongs on turf here Nov. 12. Jorge Carreno is up at 119 pounds.

D’ Obsession was trained in California by Michael Pender, but is now in the barn of Jeff Metz. He was off the board in his only dirt start, but that came in his debut in April 2012 at Santa Anita. He ran on well for fourth after a sluggish start in that race. D’ Obsession comes here after running third on Betfair Hollywood Park’s synthetic main track Nov. 30. Scott Stevens rides at 115 pounds.

Hurricane Lake, trained by Diodoro, was fourth in this race last year. He comes off a sharp second in a turf route here Nov. 30, his first start in more than three months.

Yavapai Downs: Horse track stalled at the gate
8/28/2013 10:04:46 AM  -  Daily Courier 

Posted: 8/25/2013 6:00:00 AM

Gary Miller continues to seek financing so he can open the defunct Yavapai Downs horse racetrack in Prescott Valley that he purchased through the bankruptcy court in February.

He already reopened the neighboring car racetrack, and hopes to re-open the events center this fall.

Miller had hoped this spring that he might open the horse track this month for a short season, but he still hasn't got the financing.

The opening has been delayed until next year at the earliest, he said. He now hopes to open on Memorial Day weekend, the weekend the track traditionally opened each year for the summer after the winter season at Turf Paradise in Phoenix.

The site won't host the Yavapai County Fair this fall either, he said. He hopes to do that next year as well. The fair will take place this year at Tim's Toyota Center in PV, where it has been held for the last two years.

The Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association's board of directors abruptly shuttered the Yavapai Downs racetrack in May 2011 without warning, leaving many horsemen stranded there. The board said the track didn't have enough money to open, and by July 13 of 2011 it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Miller bought the track by assuming a $5.5 million federal loan and faced the daunting task of trying to clean up the grounds and replace the roof on the 93,000-square-foot grandstands. He said he's already invested more than $1 million of his own money.

Miller said his financing for repairs and start-up costs at the track fell through in February, but a confidentiality agreement prevents him from talking about the deal.

Arizona Sen. Steve Pierce of Prescott says the Gila River Indian Community and Navajo Nation tribes were the financiers, and the Navajo Nation backed out of the agreement. Pierce is a local rancher whose quarterhorses have raced at Yavapai Downs, and he sponsored successful legislation this year to help the Arizona Department of Racing and the PV track.

"They would have been good partners," Pierce said of the tribes. They would not have been able to claim the property as ancestral lands and try to build a casino, he said.

Erny Zah, spokesman for the Navajo Nation's president's office, said Friday he's not familiar with the agreement and would need more time to research it. Gila River officials were not available for comment.

Pierce and Miller both would love to see the state legalize "racinos," allowing slot machines at horse and dog racetracks.

"I think its good for employment, good for the state and good for the horsemen," Miller said.

"There's a lot of people who don't want statewide gaming's already here," Pierce said. "We're passing up $1 billion."

He doesn't plan to sponsor any legislation legalizing racinos unless he senses enough support for it.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed Pierce's Senate Bill 1146 that will give the Arizona Department of Racing director discretion to allow more "dark" or simulcasting racing days than live racing days, he and Miller said. It also gives the director more authority to penalize horsemen who violate laws and rules.

The bill helps rural Arizona, Pierce said.

Miller said he still has several prospects for financing the re-opening of the horse track.

"We're negotiating with several groups and talking with local banks, too," Miller said.

He doesn't have to start making monthly loan payments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program until the end of March 2014.

"We have a good relationship and they're supportive," Miller said of the U.S. government.

Pierce says he's confident the track will reopen.

"He'll get it - it's just slow," Pierce said. "It's a shame, because that would be a huge boon" to the local economy with as many as 700 jobs during the season.

Miller already reopened a dirt car racetrack on site June 1 and says it's already in the black. He estimated 700 to 800 people attend each Saturday, and the track also has hosted mud bog races on occasional Fridays.

"We put a lot of money into the track, mainly for safety," he added.

The neighboring events center should re-open in October with activities such as kids rodeos, bull riding, car auctions and horse shows, Miller said. He has a liquor license and a concessionaire will serve food. The Yavapai County government owns that building.

While he's fixed up the events center, some major repairs such as the roof still need to be done on the horse racetrack grandstands.

"I have not started major repairs on the main building," he said. "We have small leaks, but no major problems." He hopes to repair the roof before winter.

He's featuring Mexican dances on the first floor of the grandstands on some weekends, with a $20 entry fee and alcohol service.

AZ: Yavapai Downs opening pushed back again
4/17/2013 2:45:21 PM  -  Daily Courier 

Posted: 4/16/2013 9:58:00 PM

It's looking unlikely that the Yavapai Downs horse racetrack will reopen in June.

"It's going to be difficult," new track owner Gary Miller said Monday.

Miller continues to work on getting the financing he needs for repairs to open the Prescott Valley track after finalizing the purchase in February.

He had financing back in February but things changed, he said. He declined to comment further, citing a confidentiality agreement that prevented him from divulging more details. He wouldn't disclose how much financing he needs, but said he's willing to take on partners and give them some say in the track operations.

"The one or two offers I've had are not satisfactory to give up control," Miller said. "They weren't good for me or the horsemen."

Miller broke the news about the latest delay to the Arizona Racing Commission last week, and then to horsemen at the Turf Paradise racetrack in Phoenix over the weekend. Turf's season ends May 7.

"He wanted to explain what's going on, and that's the best thing to do," said trainer Jacque Guerra, who caught part of Saturday's meeting at Turf and used to race at Yavapai Downs. "We miss going up there."

Miller said he also told the racing commission and horsemen that he still has hopes he can open the Prescott Valley track for a short season in August and let the horses return as early as July, when some of the out-of-state tracks close for the season.

If the PV track doesn't get open by August, it won't reopen until next year, Miller said.

"There's a lot of people disappointed because they wanted to stay in Arizona," Guerra said. "We're hoping something still comes together."

While financing was the major issue, Miller said he was concerned about not having enough horses to reopen in June, too. Most Arizona horsemen already have made commitments to run elsewhere when Turf closes for the season.

One of the closest tracks, SunRay Park at Farmington, N.M., opens Friday for the season and closes on June 23. Guerra and her husband Vince, a jockey, will be going to Arapahoe Park near Denver. It opens May 26 and closes Aug. 18.

Miller said he has completed his application for a state racing permit except for the financing section. When financing is settled and he files that information, he's heard he could get a permit as quickly as 4-6 weeks.

The PV track's traditional racing season is Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Last month, Miller announced he wouldn't be able to open on schedule and said he hoped to get the track open by mid-June.

"He's been very up front," Guerra said. "He didn't want anything to happen like before, when we were lied to."

The Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association's board of directors abruptly shuttered the track in May 2011 without warning, leaving many horsemen stranded there. The board said the track didn't have enough money to open, and by July 13 of 2011 it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Miller bought the track by assuming a $5.5 million federal loan and faced the daunting task of trying to clean up the grounds and replace the roof on the 93,000-square-foot grandstands. He said he's already invested more than $1 million of his own money.

He said he's already cleaned up the neighboring car racetrack and county government-owned events center, and he is considering opening them to events this summer too.

He's even heard from someone interested in building a baseball stadium on the property, he added. He's a die-hard Yankees fan.

AZ: Miller files Yavapai Downs racing permit application
1/18/2013 10:13:16 AM  -  The Daily Courier 

Posted: 1/17/2013 12:01:00 AM

Gary Miller submitted a voluminous application Tuesday to the Arizona Department of Racing for a Yavapai Downs horseracing license.

Miller has not made a final decision whether to purchase the track, but clearly wants to keep things moving so he can open the track in May if everything falls into place.

"Further decisions will be forthcoming," Miller said this week. A bankruptcy court is requiring a purchase decision by Jan. 30.

Miller's application to the Department of Racing requests 68 live racing days in 2013 and 68 more days of running the state's off-track betting (OTB) facilities.

Miller is president of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent & Protective Association and has been involved in the horseracing industry for decades.

The Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association's board of directors abruptly decided to shutter the track in May 2011. The board said the track didn't have enough money to open, and by July 13 of 2011 it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of the track to Miller for $5.5 million. Miller now is analyzing the condition of the track facilities on the northeast edge of Prescott Valley during this "due diligence" time period. The U.S. Department of Agriculture held a $14.7 million loan on the facilities, mostly for its construction in 1999-2001, and now the federal agency plans to transfer $5.5 million of that loan to Miller if he agrees to buy the track.

Arizona Sen. Steve Pierce, Prescott Valley Town Manager Larry Tarkowski, PV Mayor Harvey Skoog, and several horsemen and breeders spoke at last week's Arizona Racing Commission meeting in support of expediting the Yavapai Downs permit application.

Pierce, a Prescott rancher whose horses have run at Yavapai Downs in the past, also wrote a letter to the commission strongly urging it to grant Miller more OTB days than the track has generally controlled in the past. That might mean taking away some OTB days from the Turf Paradise track in Phoenix.

"The lack of live horse racing at Yavapai is negatively impacting the number of horses available for racing at Turf Paradise," Pierce wrote. "Also, it is impacting the breeding, training and ownership of racing horses in our great state."

The Town of Prescott Valley hopes to see a speedy permit application review so racing has a chance to resume in May, Tarkowski said after the meeting.

"We received indications from the commission they were very interested," Tarkowski related. "It was a very favorable reception."

Reviving the track would help not only the racing industry but also the local economy, Tarkowski said. The Downs employed about 300 people each summer alongside hundreds of trainers, jockeys and assistants.

Turf Paradise: Red Zeus draws away in Arizona Breeders’ Futurity
11/26/2012 11:10:13 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 11/24/2012 7:43PM

PHOENIX – Red Zeus, a maiden, picked the right day to run the race of his life as the 2-year-old son of Red Sky’s posted a big upset in Saturday’s $45,799 Arizona Breeders’ Futurity (colt and gelding division) at Turf Paradise.

Owned by Dick and Peggy Hopwood and trained by Dan McFarlane, Red Zeus had been beaten by a number of Saturday’s rivals. On this day, however, the colt bided his time early under Kelly Bridges in the six-furlong race for Arizona-breds, came with a strong run on the outside into the lane, took command at the eighth pole, and drew off to win easily by 3 1/2 lengths.

Anytime, the 3-2 favorite as he invaded from Southern California, stalked the pace and stayed on for second, while Mo Rock, the pacesetter, ran third in the field of nine. Lewiston, the second choice and considered the best of the locals, lagged back and made only modest headway to finish fourth.

Red Zeus ran the distance in 1:11.24 and paid $34.20. The winner’s share for his first win in six starts of $24,012 gives him earnings of $33,784.

Sallyana gets stakes win in debut

Sallyana, making her debut for the Triple AAA Ranch and trainer Kory Owens, showed she was up to the task as the daughter of Top Hit was an easy winner of the $48,404 Arizona Breeders’ Futurity (filly division).

Under Vicky Baze, she dogged pacesetter Rock Those Hips from the start, got the better of that rival, and won by a length over another first-timer Red Rachel. While the margin was only a length, Sallyana was hand-ridden to the line.

Red Rachel stalked and ran second, while Rock Those Hips stayed on to be a clear third (eight lengths ahead of the others) in the field of 10 Arizona-bred juvenile fillies.

Sallyana ran the distance in 1:11.53 and paid $6 as the favorite. She earned $25,311 for her first start.

Page Springs gate to wire in Cactus Flower

It was again speed that carried the day for the brilliantly fast Page Springs in the $26,500 Cactus Flower, but she wasn’t as crazy in her use of it. Often, she’s run off to big leads and held on. In this 6 1/2-furlong event for fillies and mares, she set the early pace, yes, but was much more reasonable about it, going in 21.77 seconds and 44.57 while only having a one-length lead on the turn. However, then she hit the jets and powered home, easily winning by seven lengths as the 1-2 favorite under Anne Von Rosen.

Owned by the Sawyer Cattle Company and like Red Zeus is trained by McFarlane, she ran the distance in 1:17.59 and paid $2.40. Hindu Kush ran on for second, a neck in front of Showstopper Ella who was the chasing Page Springs early in the field of six. The winner’s share of $16,266 gives Page Springs earnings of $187,986 from 7 wins in 13 starts.

* Jamaican Memories, third to last year’s horse of the meet Derive on Oct. 22, didn’t have to deal with that foe in Saturday’s $27,500 Cactus Wren Stakes, and it showed as the 4-year-old proved an easy winner. Owned by Carol and James Bolin and trained by David Van Winkle, Jamaican Memories stalked the pace in the 6 1/2-furlong event under Juan Rivera, took over into the lane with a strong move along the rail, and drew off to win easily by five lengths.Frisky Risky stayed on for second, with 9-5 favorite Az Ridge rallying for third in the field of 10.

Jamaican Memories paid $6.40 as the second choice and ran the distance in 1:15.85. He earned $16,198 to give him earnings of $93,218 from 4 wins in 25 starts.

AZ: Court accepts horsemans bid for Yavapai Downs
10/31/2012 12:40:50 PM  -  Daily Courier 

Posted: 10/31/2012 12:01:00 AM

A bankruptcy court on Tuesday approved the tentative sale of the Yavapai Downs racetrack to Gary Miller for $5.5 million.

Miller is president of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent & Protective Association that represents horsemen.

"I'm thrilled with how the court hearing went," Miller said. "I was confident in my business plan. Now I'm going to focus on due diligence and getting up there."

Along with the bankruptcy court, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development had to agree to the sale since it holds $14.65 million in loans on the track. The USDA agreed to the deal earlier this month.

Miller and USDA officials now will enter a 45-day to 90-day due-diligence period before signing the final sale documents. Miller plans to come up to Prescott Valley next week to inspect the condition of Yavapai Downs infrastructure, since it's been shuttered for more than a year.

If he sticks with the purchase, Miller will assume $5.5 million of the existing federal loan at an interest rate of 4.375 percent and have as many as 37 years to pay it off, according to court documents. He also has agreed to pay as much as $400,000 in closing costs.

At this point it's unclear how much bankruptcy creditors might get from the sale, or when. Bankruptcy Trustee Brian Mullen didn't respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Miller has stated that he'd like to get the track open again for the 2013 horseracing season that traditionally starts on Memorial Day Weekend.

"It's going to end up being better than it ever was," predicted Tom Metzen, executive director of the Horseman's Benevolent & Protective Association (HBPA) in Arizona.

He doesn't think Miller will have any trouble filling the Yavapai Downs horse stalls, since Arizona horsemen have been forced to race outside the state for the last two summers and that costs them much more money. Some just idled their steeds until Turf Paradise opened for the winter in Phoenix.

"They're excited as all get out about getting (Yavapai Downs) open and making a success out of it," Metzen said.

Jockey Vince Guerra and his wife Jacque, a trainer who has trained horses for Miller, said they are looking forward to returning to Yavapai next summer instead of traveling all the way to Denver like they did the last two summers.

"It costs too much to go up there," Vince Guerra said.

Like many other horsemen including Miller himself, the Guerras lost thousands of dollars when the previous Yavapai Downs owner announced they wouldn't open in May 2011 after the horsemen already arrived, and then the owner filed for bankruptcy.

But the Guerras, who had been racing up here for about 15 years, have a lot of confidence in Miller's ability to run the place.

"Gary is going to be a real asset to the horsemen community," Jacque Guerra predicted. "He's a very good businessman and a real good person. He knows a lot of people and knows how to get things done. He'll have a top-notch facility."

Vince Guerra also praised Miller.

"He's a very fair person, and he loves racing," Guerra said. "He wouldn't be doing it unless he thought he could make a success out of it."

Re-opening the track will bring back 300-400 seasonal jobs to the track, Metzen noted, along with hundreds of supporting industry jobs.

Prescott Valley Town Manager Larry Tarkowski attended Tuesday's court hearing and told Miller the town would do everything it can to help him reopen the facilities, such as getting building inspectors out to help look the place over.

"I'm glad to see that asset in Central Yavapai County will be put back into the local job-creating market," Tarkowski said after the hearing.

Higher bid rejected

USDA officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the agreement and the reasons behind their objection to a higher bid.

The court on Tuesday rejected a higher bid of $6.5 million from an unknown Arizona/California consortium represented by Christopher Gibbs of Agoura Hills, Calif., after the USDA didn't support Gibbs' offer. Gibbs wanted to assume $6.5 million of the USDA loan.

In a written court response to Gibbs' offer, the USDA said the offer didn't comply with approved bidding procedures since Gibbs didn't make a cash bid and didn't want to submit the $400,000 cashiers check required for bidders outside of Miller.

The USDA objection called Gibbs a new bidder, but Gibbs had expressed interest in the track before an April bankruptcy auction and he submitted court documents saying he had been negotiating with the USDA since USDA officials contacted him on April 16. That was two weeks after the USDA rejected Miller's initial winning bid of $3.25 million in cash at the bankruptcy auction.

Gibbs said he had a tentative written agreement with USDA in May to buy the track for $5 million, then USDA State Director Alan Stephens told him in June that the USDA had another offer. Gibbs criticized Stephens for allegedly telling Miller how much Gibbs already offered. Stephens has since left that job.

Gibbs said he then increased his offer to $6.385 million if USDA would agree to stop negotiating with other bidders. When the USDA denied the request, Gibbs decided to bid at Tuesday's court hearing.

The track facilities include a one-mile horse racetrack, the 93,328-square-foot grandstands, about 860 horse stalls and a neighboring car racetrack.

The Prescott Valley track never opened for the 2011 summer racing season, and it's been closed ever since. Its former owner, the Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association, filed for bankruptcy in July 2011.

USDA Rural Development originally loaned the Yavapai County Fair Association about half the money it needed to build a new $22 million track in Prescott Valley in 2001 to replace the shorter track in Prescott.

The summer racing meet in the Prescott area had been operating since 1960, and horse racing here dates back to territorial days.

AZ: Yavapai Downs deal struck for $5.5 million
10/5/2012 9:59:37 AM  -  The Daily Courier 

10/4/2012 7:18:00 PM

The resurrection of the Yavapai Downs horse racetrack took one step closer to reality Thursday when a bankruptcy trustee filed a motion for a $5.5 million sale to Gary Miller, the president of the state horsemen's group.

"If we get bankruptcy court approval, we're very confident we can open on Memorial Day Weekend," said Miller, president of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent & Protective Association.

He said he also would like to bring the county fair back to the site, and he would consider reviving other events including car races as well as horse shows at the county-owned events center next door that has been leased to the racetrack owners in the past.

"I think this is going to be a community place, in addition to the racetrack," Miller said.

The Prescott Valley track never opened for the 2011 summer racing season on Memorial Day Weekend, and it's been closed ever since. Its former owner, the Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association, filed for bankruptcy in July 2011.

Miller submitted the top bid of $3.25 million for the track facilities during a bankruptcy court auction on April 3 of this year, but three days later the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development rejected the bid. Miller then offered $3.5 million and was again rejected. The USDA and Miller have been negotiating ever since.

Along with the bankruptcy court, the USDA has to agree to the bankruptcy sale since it holds millions of dollars worth of loans on the track.

USDA Rural Development originally loaned the Yavapai County Fair Association about half the money it needed to build a new $22 million track in Prescott Valley in 2001 to replace the shorter track in Prescott. The summer racing meet in the Prescott area had been operating since 1960, and horse racing here dates back to territorial days.

USDA still held about $14.7 million worth of loans on the track when the bankruptcy occurred.

The tentative agreement between Mullen and Miller's company, Prescott Valley Race Course LLC, allows Miller to assume $5.5 million of the existing loan. He also will pay as much as $400,000 worth of closing costs. Miller said he is the sole owner of PV Race Course.

He said he's happy with the financial agreement.

"It's going to provide me with the ability to open the track and put people back to work," he said.

Bankruptcy Trustee Brian Mullen asked the bankruptcy court Thursday to expedite a hearing on his motion for approval of bidding procedures at the sale hearing, and the court agreed to an Oct. 10 hearing date in Phoenix.

Mullen wants the sale hearing to take place by Oct. 24. It's possible that someone could attend that hearing and outbid Miller, but no one else has been in the picture since the failed bankruptcy auction.

If the court approves the sale, Miller and the trustee will have an unspecified period of due diligence in which Miller examines the facilities before the two sides close on the deal.

"I'm happy to see we're at the next step," Miller said. "I never doubted it once. Two or three times, but not once."

USDA officials responded to a request for comment late Thursday afternoon with an email confirming the sale procedures.

The Arizona HBPA issued a short statement.

"This is a very positive move forward and we hope Mr. Miller gets bankruptcy approval," the text stated. The HBPA has consistently supported Miller's attempts to buy the track.

The track facilities include a one-mile horse racetrack, the 93,328-square-foot grandstands, about 860 horse stalls and a neighboring car racetrack. Miller said he has visited the site but at this point has no idea how long it would take to bring it back to operating condition.

The Downs employed about 300 people each summer alongside hundreds of trainers, jockeys and assistants.

Miller has owned numerous racehorses since he attended college near Monmouth Park in New Jersey close to his hometown.

Now a commodities trader, Miller said he and other top Asarco copper mining company executives in Tucson saved thousands of jobs when they revived Asarco from a 2005 bankruptcy, and now he wants to do the same at Yavapai Downs. He already is working on a management team.

"In high school I was known as the guy who persevered, and also as an optimist," he said. "My motto was, 'If nobody died, we can fix it.'"

Coincidentally, today is opening day at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, one of only two commercial horse racetracks still operating in Arizona.

Turf Paradise
5/19/2012 12:31:49 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2012 

The Turf Paradise meet ended on May 6 with a full field in the Hasta La Vista, traditionally the last race of the meet each year. We closed the meet with a small increase in on-track handle and attendance, and Kentucky Derby Day handle was good.

The closing of Yavapai Downs last summer devastated the horsemen who ran there. We experienced the loss of horses and trainers to other tracks, and some horsemen just got out of the business. We were able to maintain our fan base and keep the off-track betting (OTB) outlets open, which was a benefit to Turf Paradise and horsemen.

The following were the Turf Paradise seasonal award winners:

Owner & Trainer – Miguel Silva

Jockey – Jorge Carreno

Apprentice Jockey – Vinnie Bednar

Whinny Award – Bill Straus

Walter Cluer Award – Shawn Coady

Three-Year-Old Filly – Page Springs

Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding – Taylors Deal

Four-Year-Old Filly – Hard Seven

Four-Year-Old Colt/Gelding – Brass Plate

Older Mare – Rare Sunset

Sprinter & Older Horse – Derive

Claimer – Derive

Quarter Horse – Macy Bay

Arizona-Bred – A Political Time

Horse of the Meet – Saratoga Boot

Election Results
5/19/2012 12:29:17 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2012 

The Arizona HBPA recently concluded its board of directors election, and below are the results:

President – Gary Miller

Owner Directors – Jack Chase, Tom Johnson, Filippo Santoro, J. Lloyd Yother, and Kari Toye; 1st Alternate – Roy Schaefer, 2nd Alternate – Debi Ferguson

Owner/Owner-Trainer Directors – Tom Bartol, Dick Hall, Tony Klenakis, Ray Odom, Sr., and Manuel Ortiz, Sr.; 1st Alternate – Vic Oliver

Executive Director – Tom Metzen, Sr.

Secretary-Treasurer – Wendy Hobson

Congratulations to our new board of directors.

Send Us Your Email Addresses and Visit Our Website
5/19/2012 12:27:39 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2012 

We encourage horsemen to send us your email address to and to check out our web site at

Feds Reject Yavapai Downs Bid future of Track Uncertain
4/9/2012 10:10:08 AM  -  The Daily Courier 

4/6/2012 10:00:00 PM

The United States Department of Agriculture late Friday afternoon rejected the $3.25 million bid for the Yavapai Downs horse racetrack that was submitted by Gary Miller at a bankruptcy auction Tuesday.

"I was shocked and saddened," said Miller, who just resigned as president of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent & Protective Association (HBPA). "It is not a good day for racing.

"My personal opinion is, you won't have racing at Yavapai this year."

The track traditionally opens for the season on Memorial Day Weekend.

Miller had previously stated he probably wouldn't get horses running by then, but he hoped to get the track open sometime this summer.

"I still remain very confident that I could have opened up the track this year," Miller said.

Arizona HBPA Executive Director Tom Metzen echoed Miller's comments.

"We're devastated," Metzen said. "Our people were so excited about coming back there. I don't know what the government was thinking."

Horsemen have to reserve stalls for summer racing now, Metzen said, so they're likely to give up on waiting for Yavapai Downs and go somewhere else.

"If this thing is closed another year, they might as well take a stick of dynamite and blow it up," Metzen added.

The Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association filed for bankruptcy last July while failing to operate its summer 2011 races.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has final say on the track sale price because it still holds $14.7 million in loans on the track facilities in Prescott Valley. The facilities include a one-mile horse racetrack, the 93,328-square-foot grandstands, about 860 horse stalls and a neighboring car racetrack.

The USDA filed a notice in federal bankruptcy court at 4:15 p.m. Friday that said it rejected Miller's bid and it would now negotiate with the "back-up" bidder Joe Davis, a Texas horseman. Davis capped his bidding Tuesday at $3 million. Two other bidders didn't break the $2 million mark.

The USDA will negotiate with Davis through 5 p.m. Thursday, then decide if it will accept or reject Davis' offer, said Dianna Jennings, public affairs officer for the USDA in Arizona.

Miller said he isn't happy about the USDA going to the second bidder after he already won during Tuesday's bidding.

Miller said USDA officials called him to a meeting Thursday night and said his $3.25 million bid was too low. He offered an extra $250,000 but they said they needed much more, he related.

Miller said he thought he already paid too much.

"There's a considerable amount of work that has to be done to get that thing open," he said.

Metzen agreed.

"The USDA has its head in the sand if it thinks this thing is going to sell for more" than Miller's offer, said Metzen, who has a half-century of experience in the U.S. racing industry.

USDA Rural Development originally loaned the Yavapai County Fair Association about half the money it needed to build a new $22 million track in Prescott Valley in 2001 to replace the shorter track in Prescott. The summer racing meet in the Prescott area has been operating since 1960, and horse racing here dates back to territorial days.

When the YCFA was having trouble paying back the loan, it agreed to create a new group called the Farm & Ag Association with a new board of directors so it could get another USDA loan. That 2009 loan package added up to $13.6 million, including what the track still owed on the previous loan.

"Who made a bad decision on the loan in the first place?" Miller said. "They want me to pay for their bad decision."

The USDA decision to reject his offer will hurt hundreds of potential employees and horsemen, as well as the Turf Paradise racetrack in Phoenix, Miller said. And it hurts the Prescott area, Metzen added.

"I thought that was part of the (federal government) program these days, to put people back to work," Metzen said.

Putting people to work is the whole purpose behind the USDA's Community Facilities loans under the Rural Development program, Jennings said.

The Downs employed about 300 people each summer alongside hundreds of trainers, jockeys and assistants.

USDA officials in Washington, D.C. and Arizona were involved in the decision to reject Miller's offer, Jennings said.

Leonard Gradillas, community programs manager for USDA Rural Development in Arizona, has been here more than a quarter-century and never seen a large Community Facilities loan recipient go bankrupt, Jennings said.

"This is a very, very rare event," she said.

AZ: New Director of Arizona Department of Racing Named
3/19/2012 2:24:29 PM  -  KPHO 

Posted: Mar 17, 2012 5:00 PM EDT Updated: Mar 17, 2012 5:05 PM EDT

PHOENIX (AP) - William J. Walsh is the new director of the Arizona Department of Racing.

Gov. Jan Brewer announced the appointment on Friday.

Walsh had been serving as the department's interim director since Lonny Powell resigned the job on Dec. 31.

The Department of Racing regulates the Arizona pari-mutuel horse and greyhound racing industry and supervises all commercial horse, greyhound and county fair racing meetings.

It also licenses participants and collects revenues plus enforces laws and rules related to racing and wagering in the state.

The department also regulates and supervises boxing, kickboxing, tough man and mixed martial arts events in Arizona.

Walsh has served the department as Chief Horse Steward/Supervisor of Officials and Wagering since 1993.

Turf Paradise
11/21/2011 7:17:26 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2011 

We are off and running. Official opening day was Saturday, October 1, and the card included the Bienvenidos Stakes, along with four trials for the ATBA Sales Stakes, all with full fields. Attendance was good, and on-track and off-track betting (OTB) handle was up compared to opening day last year.

Our out-of-state handle continues to suffer due to recent budget changes made by the Arizona Department of Racing. Entries continue to go well; if the weather cooperates, we are looking forward to a successful meet.

Welcome to New Faces
11/21/2011 7:16:42 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2011 

Horsemen continue to trickle in, however we have more empty stalls than ever before. We have some new trainers from Canada again this year, along with the ones that came last year. We welcome all the new faces on the backstretch this year and wish them a successful meet.

New Recognition for Owners
11/21/2011 7:16:05 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2011 

The Arizona HBPA will be recognizing two owners every month for their contributions to Arizona racing.

Thanksgiving Dinner
11/21/2011 7:15:25 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2011 

The Arizona HBPA and Turf Paradise again hosted the annual Thanksgiving Dinner, which was well attended.

License Fees to Increase
11/21/2011 7:14:13 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2011 

The Arizona Department of Racing has to become self-supporting by 2013. The state will no longer contribute monies to the Department. In an effort to create a budget, license fees are just one of the changes that horsemen will see. You can go onto or for a complete price list.

Send Us Your Email Address
11/21/2011 7:12:24 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2011 

Contact the Arizona HBPA office with your email address if you want to be on the mailing list.

Remember safety first, your family expects you home tonight.

Yavapai Downs
8/22/2011 1:22:57 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2011 

The Yavapai Downs summer meet was cancelled this year. A last minute cancellation caught many horsemen off guard with no place to go. Most horsemen were able to find places to go, and others just turned out. This was a devastating blow to horsemen not only financially, but also emotionally. Ninety-Nine years of racing history lost. Why? The question remains.

Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Board filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 13. The fate of racing at Yavapai Downs remains unknown at this time.

Turf Paradise
8/22/2011 1:21:54 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2011 

Turf Paradise opened early for displaced horses only after reaching a financial agreement with the Arizona HBPA, and it will be open only to those given stalls.

The training track is open Mondays through Saturdays from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The swimming pool and jogger are open Mondays through Saturdays from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and there is a $3.00 a day charge for stall rent through September 5.

The stable area and main track opens for the official meet starting on September 6. Turf Paradise stated that it has received more stall applications than it has stalls available. That being the case, we are looking forward to full fields come Saturday October 1, opening day. Purses are back to the original bottom of $5,500, and they were able to increase the stakes.

License requirements are being strictly enforced by the Arizona Department of Racing (ADOR). Trainers and owners with children or a spouse that will come on the backstretch to visit only will need to contact ADOR to see if visitor photo identification badge is needed. ALL GROOMS will be required to get a new license this year.

New license fees are effective starting July 20, 2011. For a full list, check our website at, or contact the office.

Arizona horsemen not only experienced the closing of Yavapai Downs, but the state shutdown at Canterbury Park affected many Arizona horsemen, as well. We are hoping to promote a good environment for new and returning horsemen for the upcoming meet at Turf Paradise. We encourage everyone to contact the office with your email address so you can receive Arizona HBPA Bulletins.

The Arizona HBPA’s office hours for the Turf Paradise meet will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can contact our office by phone at (602) 942-3336, by fax at (602) 866-3790, or by email at

Remember, safety first – your family expects you home tonight.

Check Out Our Website
8/22/2011 1:19:06 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2011 

The Arizona HBPA has updated its website,, and will continue to keep current information posted. If you have an opportunity to check it out, we are open to suggestions.

Bankruptcy Filing for Yavapai Downs Operator
7/14/2011 2:17:35 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 7/14/2011 9:59:43 AM Last Updated: 7/14/2011 1:57:26 PM

The Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association, which operates Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, Ariz., announced July 13 that it has filed for protection under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

In a statement, the organization’s board of directors said it would be pursuing various options with parties interested in the property that the YCFAA took over from the Yavapai County Fair Association in 2009.

“While it is with deep regret that we take this step today, it is with great energy and optimism for tomorrow that we approach the challenge of revitalizing this property,” the statement said. “Toward that end, we have entered into detailed discussions with many interested parties, and, in the weeks to come, we will begin discussions with many of the nation’s top business people. They have made known their strong interest in, and their desire to pursue, the opportunities this facility will provide in the future.”

The board said attorney Randy Nussbaum, a certified specialist in business bankruptcy, would be its representative through the process.

In addition to the race meet, the YCFAA also operates the Yavapai County Fair and the Coors Event Center, and it leases a portion of fairgrounds’ property to the privately run Prescott Valley (motorsports) Raceway.

In late May, the Yavapai Downs announced that it was cancelling the 2011 meet scheduled to open May 28 and run through Sept. 6.

At the time, the YCFAA had payments due on a loan of approximately $13 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stemming from construction of the track 10 years ago and refinancing in 2009. Last year, Yavapai was reassessed as a commercial rather than a non-profit agricultural entity, changing its annual property taxes from $30,000 to $349,000.

Mullaney, who became the general manager this past January, said the Yavapai County Assessor’s Office has since decreased that $349,000 assessment by some $90,000.

The YCFAA said the status of the 2011 county fair remains uncertain.

Turf Paradise will offer higher purses as it benefits from the closing of Yavapai Downs
6/22/2011 4:18:33 PM  -   

06/22/2011 9:49 AM

Turf Paradise announced a boost in purse money for its upcoming 2011/2012 meet, with overnight purses being increased 10 percent and stakes purses 26 percent.

The Phoenix track opens its 157-day meet Oct. 1 and runs through May 6, 2012, with live racing on a Friday-through-Tuesday schedule.

The purses for 32 stakes will be increased to $35,000 from $25,000, and a couple of the meet's marquee events, the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile and Turf Paradise Derby, will see purse hikes to $75,000 from $50,000.

“We are experiencing an influx of wagering revenue since the in-state OTB system is now being operated by us,” said track general manager Vincent Francia. “We are passing along the benefits to our horsemen for the upcoming meet.”

Turf Paradise took over the OTB system when Yavapai Downs cncled its summer meet this year.

Yavapai Downs Cancels 2011 Race Meet
5/26/2011 11:08:39 AM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 5/26/2011 7:32:29 AM Last Updated: 5/26/2011 8:10:09 AM

Yavapai Downs in Arizona will not run a race meet in 2011 due to financial difficulties.

Track management informed the Arizona Racing Commission, horsemen, and other members of the state racing industry of the cancellation during a May 25 meeting in Phoenix, according to Mike Mullaney, general manager of the track.

“There just isn’t the money to run a race meeting,” Mullaney told The Blood-Horse. “We have a debt of about $14 million now. It costs $2,500 a day just to maintain the racetrack.”

Officials and board members of the non-profit Yavapai Farm & Agriculture Association, which runs the Prescott Valley, Ariz., racetrack, met May 24 to discuss options that might enable the track to conduct this year’s meet. Yavapai was scheduled to open May 28 and run through Sept. 6. However, it was decided not to run in 2011 to give management time to solve the financial difficulties so the track can operate in 2012.

The association has payments due on a loan of approximately $13 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stemming from construction of the track 10 years ago and refinancing in 2009. Last year, Yavapai was reassessed as a commercial rather than a non-profit agricultural entity, changing its annual property taxes from $30,000 to $349,000.

Mullaney, who became the general manager this past January, said the Yavapai County Assessor’s Office has since decreased that $349,000 assessment by some $90,000.

In addition to conducting the Yavapai meet, the Yavapai Farm & Agriculture Association in the past has run the four-day Flagstaff meet over the Fourth of July weekend.

"I hope that Flagstaff won’t become a casualty of all this,” Mullaney said, noting Turf Paradise management at the commission meeting expressed interest in running the Flagstaff meet this year.

Yavapai management will now meet with horsemen who are on the grounds to try to ease the transition. About 750 horses were already at Yavapai, which had drawn entries for its May 28 and 29 cards.

It is also possible, Mullaney said, that horsemen, in the form of the Arizona Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, could become involved in running Yavapai next year.

5/21/2011 11:07:07 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2011 

Yavapai is gearing up for opening day on Saturday May 28. Horses are moving in every day, while crews continue to work on preparations for the big day.

Yavapai will be starting this season with a new management team under the direction of Bill Murphy, General Manager Mike Mullaney, Racing Secretary Fred Hutton, and Announcer Craig Braddick. We welcome the new team and employees and look forward to a good summer meet.

The Arizona HBPA will again have an office at Yavapai Downs. The office will be open on Saturday, June 4 and will be open on live race days from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The office phone is (928) 775-8010, and the cell phone is (602) 920-6996.

We look forward to seeing you at the Downs and a great summer.

Turf Paradise
5/21/2011 11:06:16 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2011 

On Thursday, March 31, the Arizona HBPA and chaplaincy hosted a horsemen’s barbeque, with guest speaker Pat Day. Gospel musical groups from around the valley performed. The event was well attended, and we served over 350 people.

The Turf Paradise racing season ended on Sunday, May 8 with a big Mother’s Day celebration. It was the first time anyone can remember that the Hasta La Vista was not run due to lack of entries; it just was not the same.

Leaders of the meet were:

Owner: Miguel Silva

Trainer: Michael Chambers

Jockey: Ry Eikleberry

Promoting Racino Bill
5/21/2011 11:05:12 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2011 

The Arizona HBPA is still diligently working to promote a racino bill to help Arizona Racing.

Stallings, former jockey and racing official, dies
4/25/2011 11:26:26 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

04/24/2011 9:09AM

Former jockey and racing official William E. Stallings, 65, died Tuesday following a heart attack.

Stallings, a Colorado state high school wrestling champion, began his riding career in 1963. Stallings was the Turf Paradise jockey of the year in 1975 and Arizona rider of the year in 1980 in his final year of riding. He was also one of the winningest jockeys on the Northern California fair circuit in the 1960s and 70s.

After retiring as a rider, Stallings qualified as a steward in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, working 17 years before his retirement.

A memorial service is scheduled Monday at 10 a.m. at the Sun Lakes, Ariz., Methodist Chapel.

CANTER Opens Arizona Chapter
3/24/2011 3:11:22 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 3/24/2011 12:01:36 PM

The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER) is now offering its services to Arizona horseman with the opening of CANTER Arizona.

Watch for volunteers as they begin tracking visits immediately to offer free sales listings, including photography, to trainers and owners looking to move their ex-racehorses onto second careers. Horses listed for sale will be available to the general public on

“We are thrilled to be offering our free listing services to the Arizona Thoroughbred racing industry,” said CANTER-Arizona’s Dennis Miller in a release. “I’m very excited to be part of an organization that directly helps Off-Track-Thoroughbreds and provides owners and trainers another option for finding these horses homes once their racing careers are ending.”

CANTER volunteers across the country have worked to provide race tracks an outlet for trainers and owners looking to move their ex-race horses into second careers. “We look forward to carrying on that success in Arizona,” added Miller.

Trainers looking to list a horse for sale in Arizona should contact Dennis Miller at

2/18/2011 2:22:45 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2011 

Yavapai will open its doors on May 28 for the summer season under new management. Mike Mullaney will be the new general manager. He comes to us with lots of experience in the racing industry.

Arizona HBPA Executive Director Tom Metzen has met with Mike. Mike has already started some beautification projects and is looking forward to a successful race meet for horsemen.

We Need Your Email Address
2/18/2011 2:22:02 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2011 

Horsemen, we continue to remind you that in the new age of electronics, we are in need of your email addresses. You may email them to us at or contact the office at (602) 942-3336.

Clinic Hours
2/18/2011 2:20:56 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2011 

The clinic is open on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Turf Paradise Wagering Glitch Probed by CHRB
1/27/2011 12:50:40 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 8:14:08 PM Last Updated: 1/27/2011 9:48:45 AM

The California Horse Racing Board is investigating a communications failure involving a race at Turf Paradise Jan. 26 that allowed wagering to continue at California racetracks and simulcast facilities for five minutes after the start of the race.

Advance deposit wagering on the first race at the Arizona track was not affected, the CHRB said in a statement.

"We have been advised that the $3,896 wagered at California racetracks and simulcast facilities on the first race never was merged with the Turf Paradise pools, so this problem did not affect the integrity of the Turf Paradise pools," the statement said. "All legitimate winning wagers placed prior to the start of the race by persons at California racetracks and simulcast facilities will be paid. The 84 tickets purchased after the start of the race will be refunded."

The CHRB said it will issue a full report when its investigation concludes.

CHRB spokesman Mike Marten said in an email that the race was not declared official in California until about two hours after it was over, preventing anyone holding a winning ticket from cashing.

"During the two hours, those 84 (late) tickets were identified and locked out of the system, so they could not be cashed once the race was declared official," Marten wrote. "All legitimate tickets were able to be cashed after 1:30 (p.m.) or so."

The winner of the race, an optional claiming allowance heat for older fillies and mares, was Frisco Fox. She was part of entry that went off at odds of 1-20 in a field of seven, paying $2.10 across the board. Her entrymate, Trojan Victory, finished second. A $2 exacta with the third-place finisher, Sliven, returned $15.80, and the $1 trifecta with fourth-place finisher Blumin Beauty was worth $23.70.

Turf Paradise
12/2/2010 9:50:05 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2010 

On a warm beautiful sunny October 1, Turf Paradise opened its doors to the first live racing day of its meet. Returning horsemen came back to a few changes and a cleaner backstretch. The meet is going along with a few more turf races than year last.

The number of horses on track by opening day was down, but more are moving in every day. However, races initially filled okay.

We had the opportunity of welcoming new trainers from Canada (Craig McPherson, Philip Hall, Chad Torvell, and Mike Anderson), Texas (Alan Love, Joel White, and Jimmy Ray Jr.), Nebraska (Rick Wise and Gary Marks), Louisiana (Roger Davies Jr., Washington Larry Ross, and Kevin Mertens), Oklahoma (Jerry Gourneau), Maryland (Janet Davidson, Dale Greenwood, and Chad Torvell), and the list goes on. The Arizona HBPA welcomes you to Turf Paradise; please feel free to come into the office with any questions or concerns.

Turf Paradise and the Arizona HBPA hosted a welcome back barbeque on Thursday, October 28, which was well attended by horsemen and Turf Paradise employees.

Turf Paradise has changes in management, which has worked favorably for horsemen. Vince Francia is the new acting general manager, with Kevin Eikleberry being hired as horsemen’s liaison.

Arizona HBPA Board
12/2/2010 9:48:52 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2010 

President Michael Napier has resigned his position as president of the Arizona HBPA Board of Directors. We would like to thank Mike for his years of service to the horsemen and the expertise that he brought to the Board. Mike led horsemen through some very controversial times and helped insure that horsemen had a voice. His dedication and service will be missed.

Vice president and horse owner Gary Miller will take over the duties of president. Gary has been a horse owner here and in New Jersey for many years, and he continues to race horses back east and here locally with trainer Jacque Guerra.

The Arizona HBPA Board and Turf Paradise continue to move forward on legislative issues now that the mid-term elections are over.

Annual Thanksgiving Dinner
12/2/2010 9:47:54 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2010 

The Arizona HBPA and Turf Paradise hosted their annual Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday November 24. It was well attended by horsemen and employees. It is always good to have the opportunity to unite horsemen for a celebration.

We Need Your Email Address!
12/2/2010 9:47:10 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2010 

Owners and trainers: We continue to ask for your email addresses to keep you informed of the happenings, but our requests seem to go unheard. Please contact the Arizona HBPA office with your email address either by phone at (602) 942-3336, by fax at (602) 866-3790, or by email at

With today’s technology, we are starting to send email blasts, newsletters, and other notices by email, so do not miss out.

Clinic Days/Hours
12/2/2010 9:46:03 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2010 

A reminder to horsemen that the clinic is open for you and your family’s needs on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Arizona HBPA Office Hours
12/2/2010 9:45:25 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2010 

Monday–Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

12/2/2010 9:44:08 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2010 

The Yavapai meet ended on September 7 on a good note. We were able to maintain purses throughout the meet with no cuts. Yavapai management was great to work with over the meet.

Yavapai, like all tracks, is experiencing the need for administrative cuts, and with that, it is questionable if Gary Spiker will return next year. The loss of Gary would play hard on horsemen.

Thoroughbred horsemen received a retro-payment from purses, and Quarter Horses had a carryover.

Yavapai Downs
8/25/2010 11:15:08 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2010 

The Yavapai meet ended Tuesday, September 7 on a positive note. Horsemen were looking forward to the new management team this year at Yavapai Downs. We lost only one day to weather. Field sizes at time were short, but we are not the only track experiencing the shortage of horses.

The track surface this year was the best ever thanks to track management putting a new surface on at the beginning of the meet. The track crew did an excellent job of maintaining the surface.

We were able to maintain the purses throughout the meet.

Turf Paradise
8/25/2010 11:14:18 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2010 

Stall applications for Turf Paradise were due August 9, and the track received a good number of requests this year due to other tracks not running in other states. Notices for acceptance of stalls will be going out shortly.

The Turf Paradise meet will open October 2 for its first day of racing. Turf Paradise has made some changes to its management team. General Manager Eugene Joyce resigned recently to pursue other options. Vincent Francia will be the acting general manager, and Kevin Eikleberry has been hired as the horsemen liaison for the upcoming meet. We are looking forward to working the new management team.

We look forward to seeing everyone in the fall and hope your summer was good.

Turf Paradise Meet Comes to a Close
5/31/2010 12:31:30 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2010 

The Turf Paradise season ended Sunday, May 2. The meet was not without its challenges. However, we were able to maintain overnight purses at their current level for the meet with the addition of the TVG money, though we had to cut some stakes.

For the first time ever, Turf Paradise began twilight racing on Fridays starting in April. The track offered many food and drink specials, and it seemed to be well received.

Turf Paradise was also successful in opening seven new off-track betting (OTB) sites during the meet. Turf Paradise General Manager Eugene Joyce reported during the most recent racing commission meeting that overall handle was up five percent and that they hope to have ten more OTB sites open before the end of summer.

Turf Paradise meet leaders were jockey Ry Eikleberry, owner Dennis Weir, and trainer Mike Chambers. Congratulations!

Our backstretch was no stranger to the economic hard times and hard times, in general. Trainer Jeff Allred experienced a serious accident, and horsemen on the backstretch rallied and held a benefit to help the Allred family.

It was a very successful benefit, raising $10,000. Thanks go out to all who contributed to the success of this fundraiser.

Trainer Jim Hill Passes Away
5/31/2010 12:30:18 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2010 

We lost one of our long-time trainers, Jim Hill. Jim was not only a horseman, but also a successful businessperson and a dedicated family man. Jim served on the Arizona HBPA Board as a trainer director. All will truly miss Jim.

Yavapai Downs Meet Underway
5/31/2010 12:29:42 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2010 

Yavapai Downs opened its doors on Saturday, May 29 for its live racing season. This year, the Arizona HBPA will have Executive Director George Wern representing it at the meet. The Arizona HBPA will be located in a new office at Yavapai Downs. George moved to Yavapai on May 4 and is busy helping get the backstretch ready.

The newly renovated track opened for training on May 15. We are looking forward to a successful summer meet.

Election Results
5/31/2010 12:22:22 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2010 

The Arizona HBPA recently held a Board of Directors election. Michael Napier was re-elected president. Also elected were:

Owner Directors: Debi Ferguson, Gary Miller, Filippo Santoro, Kari Toye, and Lloyd Yother. First alternate: Craig Trbovich, Second alternate: Tom Johnson.

Owner-Trainer/Trainer Directors: Tom Bartol, Kevin Eikleberry, Cory Kellogg, Ray Odom Sr., Manuel Ortiz Sr. First alternate: Gary Barrow. Second alternate: Larry Wells.

Arizona HBPA Board Member Jim Hill Succumbs to Cancer
4/23/2010 2:40:00 PM  -  Arizona HBPA 

Posted: 4/20/2010

On Saturday, April 17th, 2010 Mr. Jim Hill succumbed to cancer. Jim was a longtime trainer and horseman in Arizona and a current board member for the Arizona HBPA. Jim lived in Phoenix & Kingman, Arizona.

In 1975 Jim started 66 Auto Sales on a small corner lot in the heart of Kingman, Arizona on Route 66. Within a few short years that business grew to become Mohave County's largest pre-owned dealership. In 1990, 66 Auto Sales was awarded the National Independent Auto Dealers Association "QUALITY DEALER OF THE YEAR" for the entire United States.

In 2003, Jim Hill was awarded the "LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD" from the Arizona Independent Dealers Association. Jim's family appreciates the morals and work ethic he has instilled in his children. Those high standards continue today.

Church services will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Kingman, Arizona on Wednesday, April 28th at 4 PM. Celebration of his life at the Elks Lodge located at 900 Gates Ave after the services in Kingman. <

>A remembrance for horsemen & friends will be held Thursday April 29, 2010 at Turf Paradise in the Turf Club Terrace at 2:00 p.m.

Turf Paradise
3/4/2010 6:42:10 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2010 

Well in sunny Arizona, we have lost three days of racing so far this meet due to rain. We were hit, as were other states, with six inches of rain on one day and, yes, five feet of snow in Flagstaff.

Turf Paradise management has cut the stakes program. All $50,000 stakes were reduced to $25,000, and the Phoenix Gold Cup was cut down to $75,000. Overnight purses were able to stay at their present level.

In spite of the cut, the Gold Cup has attracted several very good horses from California, New Mexico, and Arizona. Local Horse Ez Dreamer, a graded stakes winner owned by Triple A Ranch and trained by Kory Owens, is high-weighted for the race. Another Triple A Ranch stakes winner, Uh Oh Bango, is on his way to Oaklawn. Uh Oh Bango is nominated to the Kentucky Derby.

Local horse Tie Rod, owned by Mark Dyer and trained by Ed Kereluk, traveled to Gulfstream Park to participate in the Sunshine Million.

Our annual Christmas Dinner, co-sponsored by Turf Paradise and held in the clubhouse, was a great success. We served over 450 backstretch employees, horsemen, and families.

Trainer Sandi Gann donated her painting of Bellamy Road to be raffled off to help benefit a backstretch worker and former jockey who had been injured in an accident. We have experienced more backstretch workers in need of benevolence this year than ever before.

The Medical Clinic is open again this year and is experiencing a busier than usual season. Hours of operation are Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Powell Named Arizona Department of Racing Director
3/4/2010 6:41:04 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2010 

Lonny Powell joined the Arizona Department of Racing on January 4 as the new director of racing. We look forward to working with him.

Turf Paradise Indian Firewater looks to build on his last
2/19/2010 12:56:44 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 2/18/2010, 4:54 pm

PHOENIX - At this time of year, the sexy divisions are for 3-year-olds. Turf Paradise puts that generation in the spotlight Saturday with the $50,000 Turf Paradise Derby and the $25,000 Arizona Oaks.

Nine 3-year-old males entered the 1 1/16-mile derby, led by the Bob Baffert-trained Southern California raider Indian Firewater. The derby goes as race 8. The one-mile Oaks (race 7) lured 10 3-year-old fillies, led by the consistent Tornado Betty and smashing maiden winner Pocketful.

Indian Firewater holds a strong hand. The $400,000 son of Indian Charlie was fifth, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths by American Lion in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue going seven furlongs Nov. 21. He ran third in an allowance sprint at Santa Anita on Dec. 30, but may have turned the corner when moved to a route in his last start, an allowance race at Santa Anita on Feb. 3. He set the pace and finished second by a nose to stablemate The Program. Matt Garcia comes in for the ride.

While the first three finishers of Lost in the Fog Juvenile - a local prep for the Turf Paradise Derby - are not here, fourth-place finisher Pinal has shown up. A son of Rocky Bar trained by Kevin Lewis, Pinal ran seventh in his debut here Oct. 24. He then won by 12 3/4 lengths Nov. 13 and parlayed that into a 3 1/2-length win in the Arizona Breeders Futurity on Nov. 28. He set the pace in the Dec. 26 Lost in the Fog and yielded grudgingly to be beaten 1 3/4 lengths. Pinal has worked well for his first route. Leading rider Ry Eikleberry has the call.

Pinal will face stablemate Plantsite on Saturday. Plantsite won his first two starts, including a route here Dec. 23. Daniel Vergara rode both Plantsite and Pinal in all their starts and ends up on Plantsite.

Cheatin a Little, who rallied from well back for fifth in the Lost in the Fog, makes his 2010 debut. Tommy and Buster finished first in his first two starts, though he got disqualified from his last win Jan. 18 for bumping a foe in midstretch.

* Tornado Betty may be the ranking 3-year-old filly on the circuit and heads the Arizona Oaks. She romped by six lengths over allowance foes here Dec. 14 and then won the Arizona Juvenile Filly on Dec. 26. She shipped to Sunland Park to try the El Paso Times Handicap, finishing third after setting the pace under pressure. She may enjoy returning to Turf Paradise. Jorge Carreno rides.

Pocketful ran fifth in her debut at Remington Park on Oct. 19. She came here and rallied for third as a maiden in the Arizona Breeders’ Futurity on Nov. 28. She went back in against maidens here Jan. 17, dueled early for the lead, and drew off to win by eight lengths. Glenn Corbett has the ride again.

AZ - Teen trainer divides time between track, class
1/21/2010 4:40:21 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 1/21/2010, 2:51 pm

PHOENIX - For most high school seniors, Saturday means thinking about what you're going to do with your buddies and maybe even the prospect of a date.

Those more traditional concerns were not on the mind of 18-year-old D.J. Fuller last Saturday. Fuller, who recently passed his trainer's license exam in Arizona, was putting on the tack for his first starter, Canyoutopthis, in the second race at Rillito Park near Tucson.

Canyoutopthis, a 7-year-old mare, is owned by Chad Ferguson, D.J.'s stepdad, and Ron Ferguson, who is Chad's father. Prior to Saturday, she had been trained by Chad.

The stable, which is based at Turf Paradise, is a family affair. Chad and D.J.'s mother, Terri, operate Ferguson Racing along with other family members, so it wasn't long before D.J. found himself on the traditional path of mucking stalls, doing the feeding, and hotwalking the horses as he worked his way up the ladder. Terri also is a director of the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

"I've been around this game since I was a little kid," said D.J. "But I began to take it a lot more seriously when I was about 13 or 14."

Racing, school, and baseball add up to a full day for the Thunderbird High School student.

"I get to the track and work around the stable from about 5 to 8 a.m., then go to school since I don't have a first-period class," he said. "After school, I have baseball in the afternoon, and once I'm done there, I'm back to the backstretch to get some more work."

Fuller's first starter didn't have a fairy-tale finish. Canyoutopthis was sent off at 5-1 in the four-furlong dash for $1,500 claimers and finished fifth under Jerry Remer, beaten 6 3/4 lengths. Regardless, it was a watershed day for the young Fuller, who privately sold the mare after the race.

Fuller sent his second starter out Tuesday at Turf Paradise, and this time things went even better. Power Paws, a 4-year-old gelding Fuller owns and trains, went up against $3,500 claimers in the day's eighth race going 6 1/2 furlongs. Power Paws broke slowly under Remer and got up for third at 15-1, earning $550. Not a bad little payday for an 18-year-old, especially when he doesn't have to pay his trainer.

Fuller's idol, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, also started his career at Rillito. Baffert was a jockey at the time and rode his first winner at the southern Arizona track. Like Baffert, Fuller would like to make a career of training.

"This is something I definitely want to pursue when I'm done with school," said Fuller, who is considering getting an associate's degree following high school. "And I'd obviously prefer to do it at my home track at Turf Paradise."

Turf Paradise cuts some stakes purses
1/19/2010 11:23:01 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 1/18/2010, 5:05 pm

Feeling the effects of a down economy and lower in-state handle figures, Turf Paradise will cut the purses of six upcoming stakes.

Four $50,000 stakes will be reduced to $25,000: the Mesa, Turf Paradise, and Sun City handicaps and the Arizona Oaks. The $100,000 Phoenix Gold will be trimmed to $75,000 and the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby will be reduced to $50,000.

"These measures were arrived at jointly with our horsemen," said Eugene Joyce, the track's president and general manager. "Our out-of-state handle is up, but our in-state handle is down thus producing a purse overpayment. However, we remain optimistic that our new nighttime simulcasting and ongoing expansion of our OTB sites will have a positive impact."

Tom Metzen, executive director of the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said that local horsemen agreed to these cuts "in order to maintain the overnight purses at the present level, since this affects the majority of horsemen.

"We will meet with our horsemen again in mid-February to assess the status of the purse account."

Chelokee to Arizona Equine Center
1/8/2010 3:00:03 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 1/6/2010 4:11:56 PM Last Updated: 1/7/2010 8:42:04 AM

Graded stakes winner Chelokee will stand at the University of Arizona Equine Center near Tucson. The 6-year-old son of Cherokee Run was donated to the equine center by Centennial Farms (Donald Little Jr., president).

Chelokee, who raced for Centennial, covered 24 mares at Tom Simon’s Vinery near Lexington in 2009 in his first season at stud.

Chelokee suffered a career-ending injury in the 2008 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) on the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) undercard. As a 3-year-old the previous year, he won the Northern Dancer (gr. III) and Barbaro Stakes and ran third in the Florida Derby (gr. I). Chelokee retired with five wins from 10 starts and earnings of $385,785.

Out of the grade II stakes-placed Silver Ghost mare Dixie Ghost, Chelokee is a half-brother to grade II winner Salute the Sarge and added-money winner Mymich.

Turf Paradise to open nights for simulcasts
12/23/2009 3:35:45 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 12/18/2009, 5:38 pm

Turf Paradise will offer night-time simulcasting beginning Saturday, Dec. 26.

"With the closing of Phoenix Greyhound Park, the opportunity was there for us to introduce nighttime simulcasting as a way to boost purses for our horsemen," said Eugene Joyce, the track's president and general manager. "Turf Paradise and select OTBs will be offering full cards from nighttime tracks, seven nights a week."

Arizona state statute holds that the daytime belongs to horse racing and the nighttime to greyhound racing. With the closing of Phoenix Greyhound Park on Dec. 19, the nighttime simulcasts of horse racing became available.

Turf Paradise will offer simulcasting from Australia, Penn National Charles Town, Mountaineer, Delta Downs, and Los Alamitos, among others.

Turf Paradise
12/15/2009 2:39:35 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2009 

Arizona HPBA President Michael Napier and the contract committee spent countless hours on contract negotiations. The Arizona HBPA has a contract in place with management; however, we had agreed to revisit the issue of OTB sites with the hope of enticing management to open new ones. Management made the Arizona HBPA a proposal, which was accepted with what we thought were minor changes. We changed the length of the contract from 12 years to five years and the specified the number of OTBs that had to be opened each year.

The Turf Paradise meet is well underway, and there are still many empty stalls. Horsemen who applied for stalls are still waiting. We have run a few short fields, but we have Quarter Horses here until December to help fill the card.

It is hard to keep current on the ever-changing chain of events on the Arizona front, but we are trying. Our thanks go out to our president, Michael Napier, and the board of directors for their thankless efforts and hours. Our thanks to the horsemen who support their board members; we are only as strong as your support.

Holiday Dinner
12/15/2009 2:37:07 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2009 

The Arizona HBPA and Turf Paradise again hosted the Thanksgiving dinner for horsemen and backstretch workers on November 25. We served about 450 horsemen, employees and families.

Horsemen BBQ and Silent Auction Benefit
12/15/2009 2:21:53 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2009 

On October 29, the Arizona HBPA hosted a horsemen’s barbeque and silent auction for George and Connie Wern. George was hurt by his horse in an accident at the horse spa at Turf Paradise. He is recouping even though he is back at work after spending a few days in the hospital. Unfortunately, the horse, Royal Chestnut, had to be euthanized.

Thanks to all who came and supported by waiting in line for food and to all who donated to the auction and of their time. Chaplin John Shumaker and Arizona HBPA Executive Director Tom Metzen were behind the grill, and Jack Chase was in charge of the silent auction. Ray and Dollie Odom Sr., Ann Hovel, Connie Wern, Linda Parker, Karen Metzen, and Carol Chase helped set up and keep the food tables full. We fed over 300 hundred backstretch workers.

Horsemen, you are to be commended for your support. With donations from National HBPA, ATBA, AQRA, personal donations, and the silent auction, we raised over $6,300.

Medical Clinic
12/15/2009 2:15:05 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2009 

The Arizona HBPA medical clinic is open again this year. The clinic is a walk-in clinic open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., no appointment necessary. This clinic is for all backstretch people and families.

Yavapai Downs
12/15/2009 2:13:08 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2009 

The Yavapai meet ended well, with a retro going to Thoroughbreds owners. Raul Hernandez was the leading trainer, Dennis Collins was the leading rider, and Patricia McPeak was the leading owner.

With new management after the July 4 break, horsemen saw several changes. The Arizona HBPA and Yavapai’s new management teamed up for some promotions at the track. With a cooperative effort, we both felt they were successful. We are looking forward to working together next year.

Jockey Tim Doocy injured, 2 horses euthanized after training accident at Oaklawn Park
12/7/2009 4:40:25 PM  -  Associated Press 

Posted: 1:55 PM CST, December 7, 2009

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Jockey Tim Doocy was injured and two horses were euthanized following a collision Monday during a training session at Oaklawn Park.

Doocy was aboard The ATM, a 2-year-old colt, when the horse collided with a pony ridden by outrider Chisum Ewing. The accident occurred as Doocy's mount was pulling up from a 3-furlong workout. Doocy, 54, was scheduled for surgery Monday — an early diagnosis indicated fractures to his ankle, knee and hand.

Ewing was not injured.

Turf Paradise Names New Voice
9/29/2009 2:03:21 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 9/25/2009, 5:20 pm

Turf Paradise has named Mike Chamberlain its new announcer for its upcoming 54th meet, which opens Friday. Chamberlain replaces Frank Mirahmadi, who called the races last year after the death of Luke Kruytbosch. Mirahmadi resigned to take on an expanded role with the TVG Network.

"I first became aware of Michael's considerable talent when I lived in Texas, and I'm a big fan," said the track's president and general manager, Eugene Joyce. "We are excited to have him on board."

Chamberlain, 39, served as Sam Houston Race Park's announcer for the past 12 years. He broke into announcing under the tutelage of Kruytbosch.

"It's like a homecoming and a dream come true to be the announcer at Turf Paradise," said Chamberlain, who grew in Arizona and whose parents live in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. "I hope to follow in line of the track's great announcers, like Bob Weems, Luke Kruytbosch, and Frank Mirahmadi."

Annual Barbecue
6/9/2009 11:50:24 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2009 

In March, the Arizona HBPA hosted its annual barbecue while most horsemen were still here. We served about 400 hamburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings. In April, the ATBA hosted its annual breed day, which turned out a large crowd and featured last year’s awards being presented at a luncheon.

Turf Paradise Meet Leaders
6/9/2009 11:49:32 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2009 

Turf Paradise leaders for the meet were:

Leading Rider – Ry Eikleberry

Leading Apprentice Rider – Cassie Papineau

Leading Owner – Dennis Weir

Leading Trainer – Mike Chambers and Keith Bennett (tie)

Racing Moving to Yavapai
6/9/2009 11:30:02 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2009 

Horsemen are on the move to Yavapai Downs, along with other destinations. This is a welcome relief, from not only the heat, but also the year of ongoing problems at Turf Paradise.

Horsemen planning to continue racing in Arizona at Yavapai Downs were able to get started on their moves on May 4.

Yavapai management has worked hard to make the 2009 season a successful one; we look forward to their continued efforts. Yavapai management has installed new electric service to walkers, a new track surface, repaired bathrooms with larger water heaters, and has made repairs to the patio area for the horsemen’s kitchen to be housed.

Yavapai Downs was off and racing for the first time this season on Saturday, May 23.

The Arizona HBPA and Yavapai Downs have joined for a joint T-shirt giveaway promotion on Father’s Day, and Yavapai has other promotions slated for the meet.

Early Pioneer Rescued by Second Call Fund
6/9/2009 11:26:58 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2009 

The Second Call Fund has rescued a horse by the name of Early Pioneer, a multiple graded stakes winner. Early Pioneer was fostered by Rhonda “Cass” Dewey. Through the help of Cass and others, Early Pioneer now lives at Old Friends in Kentucky and will be Lava Man’s pasture pal.

Second Call, like most non-profits, is feeling the effects of the economy. Donations to Second Call Fund may be made to Turf Paradise Foundation/ Second Call and sent to Arizona HBPA at 1501 W. Bell Rd., Phoenix, Arizona 85023. Every dollar donated goes to help the horses; there are no administrative fees taken out.

Struggles at Turf Paradise
6/9/2009 11:23:54 AM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2009 

Turf Paradise ended its season on Sunday, May 3. Much like other meets around the U.S., our attendance and handle were off, but very little compared to the rest of the country.

Disagreement with management continues to be one of the ongoing problems at Turf Paradise. Among the problems, management this year canceled two of the large promotions scheduled (Wallet Day and Alternative Race Day).

Purses at Turf Paradise remained at the level of the previous season at Turf Paradise. However, we were not able to get some of the better races to go, causing some trainers to take their better horses elsewhere.

Slots are on the agenda. However, at the time of this writing, the Arizona HBPA, Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders Association (ATBA), and the Arizona Quarter Horse Racing Association (AQHRA) have not come to an agreement with the track management on the amount to go into purses.

We are looking to get an agreement with Turf Paradise management on a new contract (the old contract expired on May 31). The Arizona HBPA contract committee, chaired by President Michael Napier, has some obstacles; the big issue at this time is the off-track betting (OTB) split.

Yavapai CFA hopes to sell racetrack to get federal loan
6/4/2009 4:22:21 PM  -  The Daily Courier 

Posted: Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Yavapai County Fair Association (YCFA) also runs the annual county fair and leases a large events center from the county government, which owns 50 acres next to the eight-year-old racetrack. The site is located near Highway 89A and Fain Road.

The track desperately needs a new lower-interest loan to replace its existing bank loans backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but USDA rules won't allow the YCFA to have another loan, new Yavapai Downs General Manager Gary Spiker said. So that's why a new company has formed to apply for the new loan, he said.

"If they don't get a loan, they can't survive," Spiker said. The racetrack lost about $350,000-400,000 last year, and its Achieve Academy charter school also is losing money and facing closure, he said.

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors as well as YCFA President Kathleen Finlayson of Prescott Valley said Tuesday they didn't know about any proposal to sell the racetrack facilities.

"Things need to happen pretty quickly," Spiker said.

Finlayson said she received a call asking her to come to an emergency YCFA board meeting Thursday night, but she had a previous commitment so she couldn't attend. Finlayson said she asked about the meeting topic and, according to her, she couldn't get an answer.

The board voted Thursday to enter into an agreement with the new association to consider selling its assets, Spiker said.

"I can't believe the board would trash something that's been around 100 years, simply for a loan," Finlayson said.

She wants the entire YCFA community membership to vote on such an action. The non-profit association formed in 1913 to run the county fair and conduct horse racing.

The YCFA would continue to operate the annual fair no matter what, Spiker said.

YCFA Vice President Sharon Wadsworth refused to talk to The Daily Courier about the board's actions. Board member Larry Ridennoure also refused to comment.

The YCFA board also replaced longtime Yavapai Downs GM Jim Grundy with Gary Spiker at its emergency meeting.

Supervisors Carol Springer and Chip Davis said they didn't know that the YCFA was trying to sell the track and turn over the lease to another non-profit until The Daily Courier contacted them Tuesday.

"I've never had a clear picture of what's going on out there, and I've often inquired," Springer said, noting that a lot of people think it is a county government operation.

Supervisor Tom Thurman said he didn't find out about the sale idea until he was invited to the racetrack Tuesday afternoon and was asked to become a board member of the new company, Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association Inc.

"The USDA didn't feel the original Fair Association was, how can I say this, efficient enough for them to do the new loan," Thurman said. He agreed to join the board.

"I don't want to close that (racetrack) down," Thurman said. "I don't want to see an albatross out there.

"If they don't get a loan, I think there's a good chance by September they'll be bankrupt."

Spiker disputed Thurman's description of the need for the new association. In a meeting in Washington, D.C., with Department of Agriculture officials last month, Yavapai Downs representatives found out that the agency's rules wouldn't allow the YCFA to apply for another loan, Spiker said.

U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick said she facilitated a meeting between the YCFA representatives and Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Cheryl Cook in her office on May 20, but didn't attend the meeting.

The track purchase is dependent on the new association's ability to get the new federal loan, said Spiker and new Farm & Ag Association President Chuck Krause of Glendale, who attended the D.C. meeting.

Only one association member also is a member of the YCFA, and another member works for the locally prominent Fain family that originally sold the land to the YCFA, Krause said. Krause couldn't remember their names and Spiker could speak only briefly between other commitments Tuesday.

The Farm & Ag Association filed its articles of incorporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission Monday, but the commission is unable to release them until it concludes the papers are legal and complete, spokesperson Rebecca Wilder said.

Krause hopes the association can submit a loan application to the federal government by July 1 and buy the racetrack by the end of the track's horse racing season, around Labor Day. The association would have to pay the YCFA the appraised value of the track and associated facilities, but no appraisal has been done yet, he said.

Krause says his job is to help distressed businesses, and indicated he's volunteering his aid to the racetrack. He said the board chose him Tuesday to be its spokesperson.

"We're assisting the people of Yavapai County to protect the ability to have the county fair," Krause said.

Handle down 12 percent at Turf Paradise
5/11/2009 11:36:51 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 5/10/2009, 8:58 pm

Turf Paradise felt the pinch of a troubled economy like most other tracks as the Phoenix facility saw some handle declines at its recently concluded meet.

According to track figures, overall handle on Turf Paradise races fell 12.3 percent from the 2007-08 stand - $205,054,318 this meet compared to $233,906,130 last year. The 154-day meet (originally set for 156 days with two cards lost to weather) saw a smaller decline in average daily handle of 8.9 percent, $1,331,522 this meet compared to $1,462,999.

Handle fell off less out of state as total export handle this meet ($184,507,961) was off 6.6 percent from 2007-08 ($197, 636,314).

Carlsbad, owned by Dennis Weir, was the unanimous choice for Horse of the Meet. Trained by Kevin Lewis, she also was named top 3-year-old filly and Arizona-bred. She rattled off four huge victories here, including three stakes, with an average winning margin of 12 1/2 lengths. She moved to Southern California and the stable of Jeff Mullins and promptly won the Santa Paula Stakes at Santa Anita on March 30, then ran second in the Grade 3 Railbird at Hollywood Park on Sunday, giving her five wins in six starts.

Weir won his 14th owner's title with 37 victories. Bingham, another of his horses, was also voted top 4-year-old.

Ry Eikleberry captured his first riding crown. He booted home 132 winners, putting him clear of Glenn Corbett and Miguel Hernandez.

The training race came down to the wire and ended up in a dead heat, as Mike Chambers and Keith Bennett finished the meet with 72 winners apiece.

Peace Chant, owned by Mike Gorman and Neil Haymes, was voted top sprinter on the strength of his big win in the Phoenix Gold Cup, while Mike Pegram's Mayor Marv parlayed a win in the Turf Paradise Derby into top 3-year-old honors.

The Arizona racing scene shifts to north as Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley commences its meet May 23 and runs through Sept. 8. Racing returns to Turf Paradise on Oct. 2.

Fee increase for jockeys at Yavapai
4/7/2009 10:09:05 AM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 6:37 PM

Following a national trend, jockeys riding at Yavapai Downs will receive an increase in losing mount fees for both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races when the 2009 meet opens May 23.

The minimum mount fee will be increased from $38 to $50 for Thoroughbred races and $38 to $48 for Quarter Horse races in the agreement between the Arizona Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Jockeys’ Guild. The difference in minimum mount fees from Quarter Horse to Thoroughbred races is because of different minimum purses.

“We greatly appreciate the Arizona HBPA for working with us to reach this agreement,” said Darrell Haire, regional manger for the Jockeys’ Guild. “This raise means a great deal to the riders competing at Yavapai and the jockeys look forward to working with the horsemen to improve the sport there.”

“The Arizona HBPA is to be commended,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “They have stepped up; first, with an agreement at Turf Paradise and now at Yavapai. When you take the current economic environment into account, it is even more important that we work together for the benefit of racing and the jockeys intend to do their part to help the horsemen in Arizona.”

This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course, Finger Lakes, Monmouth Park, the Meadowlands, Atlantic City Race Course, Hawthorne Race Course, Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder Race Course, Tampa Bay Downs, Charles Town Races, Prairie Meadows Racetrack, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, and Turf Paradise. Jockeys at Philadelphia Park and Penn National Race Course have also received raises in their losing mount fees. Negotiations are ongoing in other racing jurisdictions.

Turf Paradise Purse Increase
3/4/2009 2:33:31 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2009 

Bucking the trend, Turf Paradise raised purses by 5% on February 6. The Arizona HBPA worked out a new purse level with management after the board, under the leadership of President Mike Napier, settled a dispute over off-track betting (OTB) revenue. The purse increase was due to a better than anticipated race meet and the agreement on OTB revenue.

Working Towards Slots
3/4/2009 2:31:51 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2009 

The Arizona HBPA and Arizona breeders are working with their lobbyist in an attempt to get slots at the seven tracks in Arizona. With Arizona under the new leadership of Governor Jan Brewer and facing a huge budget deficit, slots have become a real possibility. A million here and a million there, and soon you are talking real money. This kind of money can save education, welfare, transportation, etc. That is not a bad idea – share the wealth with everyone.

Working for Model Rules and Consistency
3/4/2009 2:31:02 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2009 

Arizona, like other states, has struggled with medication testing policies and the adoption of RCI rules. The inconsistency and unclear application of some RCI rules and not others keeps horsemen somewhat uninformed. The Arizona HBPA has been helping some trainers who we feel have been unjustly penalized. We were informed in a recent hearing that Arizona’s test barn does not operated under the RCI Model Rules. We are being helped greatly by the expertise of Dr. Thomas Tobin.

AFLAC Policy for Members
3/4/2009 2:30:03 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2009 

Through the National HBPA, the Arizona HBPA is proposing to offer its membership an AFLAC policy with the Arizona HBPA paying part of the premium. The program has not yet been implemented, and details are being worked on right now. You can contact the Arizona HBPA office for further information.

Annual Backstretch Barbecue
3/4/2009 2:29:10 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2009 

The Arizona HBPA is again preparing to host its annual March backstretch barbecue for horsemen. Be watching for the date. Last year, with the help of Chaplin John Shumaker and Arizona HBPA Executive Director Tom Metzen as the cooks, we fed over 500 horsemen, families, and employees.

Trainer and Groom of the Week Program
3/4/2009 2:28:28 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2009 

This year, the Arizona HBPA initiated the trainer and groom of the week program at Turf Paradise. We plan to continue it at Yavapai Downs.

Each week, an Arizona HBPA Director in the winner’s circle following the first race makes the presentation. Congratulations to all the recipients and to those who have nominated their trainer and groom to help make this program a success.

Medical Clinic
3/4/2009 2:27:25 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Spring 2009 

The Medical Clinic is open Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The clinic has been well received again this year by horsemen.

Turf Paradise boosts purses 5%
2/11/2009 12:01:42 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Turf Paradise in Phoenix will raise purses 5 percent across the board beginning Friday under an agreement with horsemen to reduce a significant purse underpayment, officials for the racetrack and horsemen said Tuesday.

The purse account at the track has been taking in more than it has been paying out because of higher-than-expected wagering on the track's races since the meet opened last October, officials said. Tom Metzen, executive director of the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, estimated that the underpayment was approximately $985,000, while Eugene Joyce, the track's general manager, estimated the size of the underpayment at approximately $800,000.

"Everything's based on projections, and when we started the meet, the economy was going down," Joyce said. "You hate to cut purses in the middle of the meet, so we were pretty conservative. We've been lucky enough to have a good meet so far."

Metzen said: "The handle has been better than we expected. We started out a little lower than we wanted, but now we can afford to raise purses."

Mount Fees Increased at Turf Paradise
12/18/2008 2:20:23 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 12/17/2008 10:43:27 AM Last Updated: 12/17/2008 11:04:29 AM

Losing mount fees for jockeys riding at Turf Paradise will be increased beginning Jan. 1, 2009.

The new scale calls for losing mount fees to range from $55 on the low end to $105 in races with a purse $100,000 or more. Previously, the losing mount fee was $45.

“We are happy that we were able to reach an agreement with the Arizona HBPA,” said Terry Meyocks, national manger of the Jockeys’ Guild. “This is the first meaningful increase in losing mount fees in Arizona in decades. I would like to thank Tom Metzen, the executive director of the Arizona HBPA, our Guild rep, Scott Stevens, and the Guild’s regional manager, Darrell Haire, for their work in reaching this agreement. The jockeys look forward to working with the horsemen and Turf Paradise management to help grow racing in the Phoenix area.”

This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation in California last fall and negotiated increases this year at Finger Lakes, the New York Racing Association tracks, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Calder, Hawthorne, Arlington, Fairmount Park, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, and Tampa Bay Downs. Jockeys at Philadelphia Park and Penn National have also received raises in their losing mount fees.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the horsemen’s groups, racing commissions, and track managements that have helped achieve these needed raises in losing mount fees,” said Meyocks.

Yavapai Meet
11/23/2008 5:30:46 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2008 

The Yavapai meet closed on September 2 on a good note. The meet was successful and resulted in a retro-payment to Thoroughbred owners. Yavapai Downs also went to the new InCompass program for bookkeeping, which allowed horsemen to access their accounts from their home computers.

Yavapai meet leaders were:

Leading Owner – Les Blake

Leading Trainer – Raul Hernandez

Leading Jockey – Dennis Collins

Turf Paradise Meet Underway
11/23/2008 5:29:19 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2008 

The Turf Paradise meet opened its doors for racing on October 5 for what we hope will be a good year for our horsemen. We have about 1,800 horses on the grounds and look for another 260 late November.

Like Yavapai, Turf Paradise has also changed over to the InCompass bookkeeping program. Owners need to contact the horsemen’s bookkeeper at Turf Paradise for your pass code if you do not have one. The Turf Paradise Horsemen’s Bookkeeper, Bucky Huff, can be reached at (602) 375-6404.

Loss of President George Bango
11/23/2008 5:28:12 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2008 

We are sorry to say that we lost our president, George Bango, on September 11, 2008, to a long battle with cancer. A memorial service in his honor was held at Turf Paradise on November 1, along with a memorial race won by Desert Sea (owned by KJ Star Stables and trained by Charles Essex). C & T Tack donated the blanket and Joyce Long donated jackets to the winning owner, trainer, and jockey.

Negotiations Ongoing
11/23/2008 5:27:07 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2008 

We are in negotiations with the Turf Paradise’s managing partner, Jerry Simms, over money received from TVG and changes in the present contract. This is a contract year for both Yavapai and Turf Paradise. The contract committee, chaired by our president, Mike Napier, and members Craig Trbovich, Gary Miller, Richard Owens, Tom Metzen, and Jim Hill, will be looking to negotiate the best contract for horsemen.

Annual Holiday Dinners
11/23/2008 5:25:58 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2008 

The HBPA, along with Turf Paradise, again hosted the annual Thanksgiving dinner for horsemen on November 26. The December holiday dinner has been scheduled for December 18, 2008.

Free Medical Clinic
11/23/2008 5:24:58 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2008 

Again this year, the Arizona HBPA is sponsoring the free medical clinic for horsemen at Turf Paradise. It is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The clinic is staffed by Dr. Brokaw and her assistant.

New Chapel
11/23/2008 5:24:10 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Winter 2008 

The chaplain will be holding backstretch church services in the new chapel. It is a nice addition to our backstretch. The Arizona HBPA helped by painting the chapel.

Turf Paradise - Shesa Private I crushes City of Phoenix
11/4/2008 2:17:16 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 11/2/2008, 9:21 am

Shesa Private I came back after more than 14 months on the bench to romp in an optional claimer at Turf Paradise on Oct. 20, hinting she was back and better than ever.

It's a hint no longer as the 6-year-old mare stepped up and blasted her rivals again, romping in Saturday's $50,000 City of Phoenix Stakes at Turf Paradise.

Owned by Tangarae Farms LLP and trained by Bart Hone, Shesa Private I jumped right out to pressure pacesetter Ever So Pretty in the six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up. She dogged that rival into submission, blasted to the lead, and drew off to win by 5 1/2 lengths while under only a hand ride, and with seemingly plenty left in reserve. Goodbye Norma Jean, just behind the winner early, stayed on well to be second, and Born With Eagles was third in the field of eight.

Shesa Private I covered the distance in a sizzling 1:07.62 under Glenn Corbett and paid $5.80 as the favorite. The winner's share of $30,000 pushes her career bankroll to $250,255 from 10 wins in 26 starts.

Turf Paradise names new caller
9/15/2008 4:48:51 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 9/12/2008, 6:38 pm

Frank Mirahmadi has been named the new track announcer at Turf Paradise, replacing Luke Kruytbosch, who died in July.

Mirahmadi, 40, is currently the track announcer at several fairs in Northern California, such as Stockton, which is currently racing. His main race-calling jobs have been at Hialeah and Louisiana Downs, where he called six seasons each. Mirahmadi also is an analyst for TVG, and had roles as race-callers in the movies "Seabiscuit" and "Ruffian."

Best known for his spot-on impressions of race-callers Trevor Denman and Harry Henson and sports announcer Marv Albert, Mirahmadi begins at Turf Paradise on the track's opening day, Oct. 3.

Mirahmadi was close friends with Kruytbosch, whom he called a "special person" whose "shoes cannot be filled."

Kruytbosch also was the track announcer at Churchill Downs, which has yet to name a replacement.

AZ/MN Trainer George Bango Dies
9/15/2008 1:05:19 PM  -  Minnesota HBPA 

Posted: 9/15/08

GEORGE BANGO 1934 - 2008

George Bango worked a great deal with claiming horses during his training career; so many of his friends regarded his victory in the 2004 Claiming Crown Iron Horse as an appropriate accomplishment.

It was the highlight of a career that spanned four decades and it had a clear impact on Bango, who was astonished, pleased and grateful all at once after Superman Can, owned by Dana Issacson, collected the biggest check of his career, and Bango's, too in the $50,000 race.

"It was one of the highlights of my career,'' said winning rider Scott Stevens. "Three weeks before the race he wasn't planning on running him, but the horse got good at the right time and ran the race of his life.''

Funeral services for Bango, a regular on the backside in Shakopee since the opening of Canterbury Downs, are scheduled on Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona, his home state since the early 1970s.

Bango died on Thursday evening at his Phoenix home after battling cancer the last several months. A vigil is scheduled Monday evening at Menke Funeral Home in Phoenix. A mass and Christian burial is scheduled Tuesday at St. Rafael's Catholic Church. Burial will take place in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Bango alternated his stable between Turf Paradise in Phoenix and Canterbury for several years after one time racing at tracks in the East, where he first became enamored of the sport.

He was elected president of the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Assn. last spring. "It was a short presidency,'' said his widow, Mary. "He was kind of a troubleshooter there for a few months while he was able.''

Bango, 74, was a native of New Haven, Conn., and operated a radiator shop. Racing was his love. "He was always interested in racehorses,'' Mary said. "He would attend the races at the New York racetracks.''

Bango would conclude every season at Canterbury with the announcement that he was either retiring or intended never again to train in Minnesota. His family grew accustomed to his season-ending proclamations and took them with a grain of salt.

"We would just say, 'Ok, George,' '' Mary said. "Then the next year I'd pack his bags for him and he'd be off. It was really hard last year when he finally realized he couldn't keep up, that he didn't have the stamina and couldn't continue.''

According to Mary, George had a friend who went to Arizona every winter. "Then one day George sort of announced that he thought all of us should move to Arizona,'' she said. "I think his friend was a real big influence.''

George made the move from Connecticut to the Grand Canyon state in 1969 and Mary followed shortly after with their six children. The move also preceded his serious entry into training, some time in the early 1970s. He had a radiator shop for a while in Phoenix and worked also as a district circulation coordinator for the Arizona Republic before turning to training full time.

Stevens and Minnesota HBPA president Tom Metzen were among the final visitors at Bango's home. "It was a Godsend,'' Metzen said. "I saw him on Wednesday and I don't think he knew me.''

Stevens drove nonstop after the meet ended at Canterbury on Labor Day and arrived in Phoenix late Wednesday afternoon Sept. 3, and visited with Bango that evening. "I went back again on Friday (Sept. 4) and he didn't look the same at all,'' Stevens said.

Stevens rode the last horse Bango saddled to victory on closing day at Canterbury in 2007. "Hills of Ireland was the last horse he ever trained,'' Stevens said, then recalling a footnote to the victory.

"George was in the winner's circle and he said he was retiring, that he wouldn't be back,'' Stevens said. "I had heard that before and thought it was just George. But he had tears in his eyes. He must have known then.''

Bango is survived by his wife and six children, all Arizona residents: George, Jr., Nancy Banks, Patricia O'Brien, Regina Davis, Karla Maines and Jessica Szabo.

Arizona HBPA in Arbitration with Turf Paradise
9/3/2008 1:31:29 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2008 

On another front, the Arizona HBPA has triggered the arbitration process in the contract with Turf Paradise in order to obtain the track’s compliance with its contractual obligations relating to the backside conditions. In addition, the Arizona HBPA has requested arbitration to determine the track’s obligation to indemnify the Arizona HBPA for losses to the horsemen’s account. These arbitrations are pending.

This will be a year for contract negotiations between Turf Paradise and the Arizona HBPA as the current contract expires in July of 2009. As usual, backside conditions and purses will be subjects of negotiations. Currently, the parties are also discussing the terms of an apparent settlement of a lawsuit brought by Turf Paradise against TVG resulting in additional racing revenue. We hope to be able to report more on this in our next installment.

Racing Commission Looks for New Director
9/3/2008 1:30:08 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2008 

The Arizona Racing Commission has submitted a list of candidates for the currently vacated position of Racing Director. The Arizona HBPA will weigh in with the Governor’s office in efforts to secure a Director who is at least knowledgeable of the industry.

Backside Barbecue
9/3/2008 1:28:57 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2008 

Before the end of Turf Paradise’s 2007-2008 meet, the Arizona HBPA held a barbecue for all on the backside. The event was well attended and proved to be a memorable evening indeed. The Arizona HBPA awarded its first ever Humanitarian Award to jockey Scott Stevens who, while in a stretch run – at risk to himself – reined in a loose horse, thus preventing possible injury to other horses and riders. The Arizona HBPA looks forward to many more such events.

Yavapai Meet Ends, Turf Paradise Next
9/3/2008 1:27:43 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2008 

The Yavapai Downs meet has come to an end for the year. Now we return to Turf Paradise. The barn area is all cleaned up to accommodate the in flux of horses returning for the 2008-2009 meet on September 3. The meet commences on October 3, 2008.

Changes to Board of Directors
9/3/2008 1:25:46 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Fall 2008 

George Bango, our beloved President Elect, had to resign because of a health problem, and he turned the presidency back to Mike Napier. Mike then put George back on the Board, and the Board voted to make George the Arizona HBPA’s Vice President.

The Arizona HBPA elected some new Board members: Bobby Grissom, Kevin Owen, Richard Owens, James Hill, and George Wern. Returning board members are George Bango, Terri Ferguson, Craig Trbovich, Larry Wells, and Ray Odom.

Also returning are Secretary-Treasurer Wendy Hobson and Executive Director Tom Metzen, Sr.

Endangered Mares Removed From Feed Lot
8/16/2008 9:36:42 AM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 8/15/2008 10:39:22 PM Last Updated: 8/16/2008 2:12:10 AM

Following more than a week of difficult negotiations, 36 pregnant Thoroughbred mares and one stallion were removed from a Phoenix, Ariz., feedlot Aug. 15 and are now at two safe locations in the state, eventually bound for new homes.

That's the word from an exhausted Priscilla Clark, president of the horse retirement facility Tranquility Farms of Tehachapi, Calif., who spent the week in Phoenix trying to arrange payment and transfer for the animals. They faced an uncertain future -- Clark believes the horses would have been slaughtered in Mexico -- after they were transported from a Southern California breeding farm to the Phoenix yard.

"We got 'em," Clark said with relief after the horses were safely removed. "They are all out of there.

"These are big, good-looking mares and in good condition, although some of them are a little beaten up considering what they've been through," Clark said by phone as she was giving a bath to one of them during the late afternoon. "Most of them are still young and they've got a great life ahead of them."

Since their arrival in Arizona on or about Aug. 1, the horses had been squeezed into pens with about 100 other horses on a dirt lot the size of about two acres with no protection from the sun.

She said she paid Dave Quinn, the individual who acquired the horses from Warren's Thoroughbreds of Hemet, Calif., $750 per head. Clark estimated that was about twice what Quinn would have received at a livestock auction or by transporting them to Mexico for slaughter.

"It was about $30,000. The money's gone, and they're big, beautiful horses and we saved them," Clark said. "Consider what it would be worth, as one of the rescuers said to me, to know that these horses didn't go to Mexico where they would have been hacked to death with a machete. I would have paid twice what I did."

The money to buy the horses was raised through private donations that came in after publicity about the horses. Many others, Clark said, stepped forward with pledges to adopt them. The process of identifying the mares is ongoing because acquiring the proper paperwork from Quinn and the Warren farm has been problematic, she added. However, she still plans to post the information on her farm's Web site, once she returns to California.

Quinn sold four of the original group of 40 mares to private individuals in Arizona, Clark said. She learned after arriving in Phoenix that just one of the stallions from the breeding farm, owned by Ben Warren, was there, the pensioned Seattle Bound. Four others, she said were "stashed" at a ranch in California, but are part of the lot she purchased. Two of the stallions she identified originally, Dante's Inferno and Kris Kross, apparently never left Warren's farm.

Clark said that negotiations for the horses broke down several times because Quinn didn't want to deal with horse rescuers. But she said that publicity about his operation and the number of people who were watching his yard forced him to eventually agree to sell.

Warren said he gave the horses to Quinn, who told him he was taking them to a ranch in Riverside, Calif., but lied to him about his intentions. Quinn told Warren he wanted the foals of the broodmares to prepare them for sale as racehorses, and the stallions for future breeding. Quinn took the first group of horses by transport truck on July 27 and the rest two days later, Warren said.

Clark became aware of the situation when contacted by a friend, Joyce Long, an Arizona bloodstock agent who heard about it before the horses were to be sold at an auction in Chandler, Ariz. A trainer in the Phoenix area, Steve Irlando, convinced Quinn to hold off on the auction and helped with the negotiations.

Turf Paradise Names Race for Kruytbosch
7/22/2008 8:00:50 PM  -  BloodHorse 

Date Posted: 7/17/2008 2:26:05 PM Last Updated: 7/19/2008 12:19:08 PM

Turf Paradise has named an opening-day stakes race after longtime track announcer Luke Kruytbosch, who died July 14 in Evansville, Ind.

The $50,000 Luke Kruytbosch, for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, will be the Oct. 3 feature for the Phoenix, Ariz., track.

“Luke meant so much to all of us at Turf and he will be forever in our hearts,” said Turf Paradise president and general manager Eugene Joyce in a news release. “We thought it fitting to memorialize him in the very thing he loved most: a horse race.”

Kruytbosch, 47, who had been Turf Paradise’s announcer since 1993, also served in that capacity at Churchill Downs and Ellis Park since 1999.

Yavapai Meeting Underway
6/14/2008 1:32:49 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2008 

The Yavapai Downs meet opened on May 24, and this should be a great season. Due to the increasing fuel costs, Yavapai received more stall applications than ever before. Thus, trying to accommodate all of the horses was a challenge, and not everyone received the necessary stalls.

The trailer park on the grounds expanded this year to accommodate more horsemen due to the ever changing events on the grounds at Yavapai.

New Board of Directors
6/14/2008 1:31:46 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2008 

The following have been elected to the Arizona HBPA’s board of directors for 2008-2010:

President: George Bango

Vice President: Michael Napier

Owner Directors: Terri Ferguson, Michael Napier, Kevin Owens, Richard Owens, Craig Trbovich, First Owner Alternate – Gary Miller, Second Owner Alternate – Linda Parker

Owner-Trainer/Trainer Directors: Bobbie Grissom, Jim Hill, Ray Odom, Sr., Larry Wells, George Wern, First Trainer Alternate – Kevin Eikleberry, Second Trainer Alternate – Bill Harris

Turf Paradise Concludes Another Successful Meet
6/14/2008 1:20:27 PM  -  The Horsemen''''s Journal - Summer 2008 

Another successful meet at Turf Paradise ended on May 4. Dennis Weir was the leading owner at the meet, while Seth Martinez was the leading jockey and Keith Bennett was the leading trainer.

The Arizona HBPA’s medical clinic opened last fall at Turf Paradise and was a great success. The medical clinic will open again for Turf Paradise’s 2008-2009 meet.

Turf Paradise - Health care project a success
4/25/2008 11:56:14 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 4/23/2008, 5:37 pm

Physician Dawn Brokaw signed on to be Turf Paradise's doctor in residence five months ago, the goal being to deliver the best possible free health care service to the track's horsemen and grooms.

Brokaw feels the project has been a success, and in fact the clinic has surpassed her expectations.

"We've taken care of hundreds of backstretch people since our first patient Nov. 17," she said. "The program is more successful than I had hoped."

The program is jointly sponsored by the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the racetrack.

While some of the more than 2,000 people working in Turf Paradise's stable area are insured, as are the 500 track employees who don't work directly with horses, others are not.

"The whole point was to provide health care to those who may not be able to afford it," said Brokaw, 61. "We've achieved the goal of providing free care to trainers, grooms, and jockeys.

"It's not a money-making thing," said Brokaw. "Hopefully it will inspire other racetracks to initiate this type of program."

Turf Paradise
3/5/2008 6:18:12 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2008 

The new medical center has been a big success. The Arizona HBPA opened it on November 11, 2007, from that date to January 31, 2008, the clinic had 170 visits. Horsemen used the medical clinic 64 times, and track employees used it 101 times. These numbers do not include walk-ins for medical advice or to get prescription refills.

The Arizona HBPA hosted a heart health clinic, doing free cholesterol screens along with blood pressure checks. It was well received by horsemen.

Turf Paradise racing has been going very well, with the loss of only two days due to the rain. However, the loss of 11 days of racing at Santa Anita due to rain and track surface issues has caused our simulcast revenue to be down.

Yavapai Downs
3/5/2008 6:16:26 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2008 

The Yavapai Downs committee has met with track management to address several issues for the upcoming meet. It was agreed that stall applications and condition books would be sent out several weeks earlier in order to notify trainers of their stall allotment earlier then in previous years. Yavapai Downs will open for live racing on Saturday, May 24 and will run through Tuesday, September 2. The track will race on Saturdays through Tuesdays, with dark day simulcasting.

Lost Friends
3/5/2008 6:16:14 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2008 

The Arizona HBPA recently had to say a sad goodbye to some of our fellow horsemen: ex-jockey and owner/trainer Ray Correa, owner/trainer Frank Colee, ex-jockey and entrepreneur Orlando Garrido, and pony rider and owner/trainer Peggy Oster, recently passed away. We extend our sincerest condolences to their friends and family, as they will truly be missed.

3/5/2008 6:15:38 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2008 

Arizona HBPA election ballots for president, owner, and owner/trainer directors will be mailed between March 1 and March 16, 2008, so be looking for yours. Ballots need to be returned to the Arizona HBPA office by April 15, 2008. If you did not receive your ballot in the mail, you can pick one up in the Arizona HBPA office.

Leonides dominated at Turf Paradise
2/27/2008 10:44:26 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 2/26/2008, 10:48 am

PHOENIX – Southern California invader Leonides had too much class for the locals, easily capturing Monday's $50,000 Palo Verde Stakes at Turf Paradise.

Trained by Vladimir Cerin, who is now 4 for 6 with Southern California raiders this meet, Leonides sat a couple lengths off the pace of El Mirage, pounced on that rival into the lane, and drew away to win easily by 4 1/4 lengths under Richard Migliore. El Mirage stayed on well to be second, 6 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Midnight Wish in a field reduced to five after three scratches.

Leonides, the 3-5 favorite, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.91. He paid $3.20 for the victory and the winner's share of $30,000 pushes his earnings to $95,580 from 2 wins in 4 starts. The son of Richter Scale finished second by a nose in last summer's Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile and was fourth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

Rillito’s Clock Ticking
2/12/2008 5:37:52 PM  -  Arizona Daily Star 

Posted: 2/12/08

Doris Clark spent her 50th birthday at Rillito Park Race Track, betting on horses with her sister and mother and staring into the paddock between races.

Earlier in the week, she and her sister, Dianne Roberts, planned the jaunt from Green Valley to Tucson. They did not grow up around horse racing, and surely are not subscribers to the Daily Racing Form.

Going to the races was something to do in the 70-degree weather Saturday.

"I'm up a couple bucks so far," Roberts said. "We play little bets. Nothing serious."

The same could be said for most of the 6,000 or so fans at the track on North First Avenue only a few furlongs from the Rillito River. The track figured to take in about $100,000 in bets Saturday, one of the eight days of its shortened season this year.

Only about 5 percent of the audience bets serious money, said Jim Collins, the track's racing secretary, announcer and handicapper — whose mother happens to sell his tip sheet just inside the front gate.

"Most people aren't going to bet more than $2 a race," he said.

The track is open each Saturday and Sunday in February, shortened in past years because of a cash flow problem spurned by the loss of simulcast racing this year.

Despite its rich history, Rillito is simply a comfortable afternoon out for Tucsonans.

The competition is not great — horses are the equivalent of Single-A baseball players, Collins said — but it is a good time.

Clark and Roberts ponder their afternoon when a bugle sounds — the call to post.

Last chance to bet.

"Sorry, we gotta go," Clark said, as they raced toward the pari-mutuel window.

Jockey's life not an easy ride

Jockeys pass in and out of the hot box, steam billowing from the room each time the door is opened. They sit in the sauna two hours before the day's races to cut weight.

Daniel Gutierrez does not want any part of it.

A few years away from retirement, the Vail resident figured out about 20 years ago how to control his weight sensibly. He eats salads and fruit to keep his weight down. When he allows himself a steak, it's usually on Mondays — four full days from the next race.

Gutierrez, 51, works out a few of the 200 or so horses at the adjacent stable during the week for a steady paycheck and to stay in shape. If he feels muscle growth, however, he slows down; muscle mass increases body weight.

Gutierrez, who weighs 123 1/2 pounds, rode seven horses last Saturday and six on Sunday. On a good weekend, he'll pull in about $1,000.

Gutierrez rides at about 10 different tracks, most of them in the Arizona State Fair circuit that has outposts in Duncan, Safford, Douglas, Sonoita, Kingman, Flagstaff, St. Johns and Globe.

The money's not great, but it is close to home — and his new bride, Cathy.

"We call it burnout," he said. "If you're at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, you do seven months then go to Colorado and then New Mexico. After 30 years it does catch up to you."

Gutierrez has a healthy respect for the sport. About 15 years ago, Gutierrez flew off a stumbling horse during a race in Colorado, breaking his wrist, collapsing a lung, separating his right shoulder and breaking his ribs. He was in a coma for three days and did not return to racing for 18 months.

"Out there, it's being safe and not being stupid," he said. "One bad move can kill you. Your body will go before the horse's does."

Gutierrez respects Rillito, too. His father, Richard, was a jockey who first rode at the track in 1952. Even today, Daniel will bump into oldtimers who remember his father, who died after a stroke about five years ago.

"It still inspires me," he said, "when I hear his name come up."

Future is dim for Rillito

History wafts out of Rillito faster than cigar smoke.

In 1943, UA student and quarter horse breeder Rukin Jelks carved the track out of his backyard; when it opened, it became the first regulated quarter horse track in America.

That year, the track became the first to feature a three-eighths-mile straightaway off the final turn, in the opposite direction of the finish line. The "chute" — which allows quarter horses to run a straight track — was adopted across the country.

Years later, the track was the first to use a photo finish.

All of which makes the track's pending destruction alarming for Rillito patrons and workers.

Pima County plans on turning the track into an $18 million soccer complex after the 2010 horse racing season; a 1984 voter referendum guaranteed the track will be able to operate until then.

The future plan depends on voters approving a bond package. Pima County officials, however, seem convinced enough of the track's pending demise.

The county spent $100,000 late last year to repair parts of the grandstand and barns damaged by a July storm. In November, Pima County administrator Chuck Huckelberry told the Star the county was taking a "calculated risk" by not bringing the track up to current code during the repairs "because the whole thing is going to be demolished in a couple years."

Today, the track's infield is lined with soccer goals; kids play there during the week.

"I think people in Tucson are foolish for wanting to discontinue racing here," said Bobbie Johnston, the track's clerk of scales and clock manager. "They've got enough damn soccer fields."

At age 70, Johnston dresses like a vaudevillian. Saturday, he wore a fat pink tie and cream coat while weighing in the jockeys. Johnston was a jockey himself for 40 years, racing at 5 feet 5 inches, 110 pounds.

Now he works at Rillito and New Mexico's Ruidoso Downs and Zia Park (Hobbs, N.M.) every year before returning to his ranch in tiny Crane, Texas.

"There's a lot of history in this racetrack," he said. "Like I said, the damn city fathers are stupid. I don't care if you write that down."

Making it work

Collins takes a far more measured approach, saying the track is "willing to bend over backward" to make a joint soccer field and racing complex work.

"Why can't we both be here?" he said.

He wishes people could see the work that goes into each race day, to look beyond the façade of the aging track.

Dan Prince thinks that's part of the charm.

During the week, the 54-year-old lives in Henderson, Nev., and serves as the state's deputy administrator for juvenile services. On the weekends, he travels to California and Arizona as the owner of a stable of horses — including Brilliantcee, who raced Saturday.

His co-workers ask him where he is off to — Hollywood Park? Del Mar? — and tells them Tucson.

"They say, 'Is there a racetrack in Tucson?'

"I say, 'Yeah! It's Rillito Park, one of the greatest venues in the country.' "

Prince keeps a straight face. Sure, he likes being in the winner's circle at some of the ritziest tracks in Southern California. But he will take Rillito and its blend of thoroughbreds, quarter horses and mixed breeds.

"This is definitely racing for the folks, racing for the rest of us," he said. "This is really what horse racing is all about. For most people in this country, it's about county fairs, and it's about small venues like this.

"It's about atmosphere and hot dogs and Cokes and having a good time." On at least one Saturday, that's all that seemed to matter — controversy and worry staved off like a horse fading down the stretch.

"It's the epitome of old-time horse racing — big crowds, but you get up close and personal with the jockeys and the horses," Prince said. "It's just a perfect way to spend an afternoon."

Turf Paradise - At 83, trainer has no plans to quit
1/18/2008 4:24:41 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 1/16/2008, 4:56 pm

Arlene Phillips still knows the way to the Turf Paradise winner's circle. The 83-year-old trainer walked that path again here Jan. 7 when her homebred first-time starter Little Loca won the seventh race. Little Loca, a 5-year-old mare by Coarsegold Creek, relished the sloppy going, opening up early and increasing her margin from there to win the $5,000 maiden claiming race by 5 1/4 lengths at 10-1.

Phillips began her training career at Rillito Park, in Tucson, in 1957 and began training at Turf Paradise in 1977. She won four training titles at Prescott Downs in the 1970s (for combined winners, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse) and was the leading Thoroughbred trainer there in 1979. She's also run horses at the New Mexico tracks of Albuquerque, Ruidoso, SunRay, and Zia Park.

She saw success at the higher levels, too. She won a pair of stakes with Nikki's Angel here in 2002 - the Ann Owens Distaff and Excess Energy.

Her family's Phillips TB Horse Ranch was located in Phoenix for decades. In 2004, the family moved the farm to Roswell, N.M.

Even at 83, Phillips remains hands-on. She may not have the numbers she once did but she still does the grunt work of a trainer for the four horses she maintains at Turf Paradise, from saddling to bandaging, right down to mucking stalls.

"I raised these horses, so I'm right here with them from the time they're babies," she said. "I liked being around them as a kid and I still do. And I'm not a kid any more."

She does not intend to slow down, either. "I'll keep doing this until I can't come to the track any more," she said.

As far as Little Loca's future, Phillips hasn't mapped out anything specific.

"She came out of the race pretty good, except she must have hit the gate doors with her chest and shoulder," she said. "She came back [with] a big welt or bruise about the size of your palm and it was all swollen. Hopefully, it will clear up all right. If it does, I might look for something for her in another couple weeks."

Correa, trainer and former jockey, dies
12/22/2007 9:36:06 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 12/21/2007, 6:07 pm

Ray Correa, longtime rider and trainer, primarily at Turf Paradise, died Tuesday at age 81.

Correa rode for about 30 years all over the country. His base of operations became Turf Paradise when it opened in 1955. He continued riding into the early 1970's, when he turned his attention to training. He was still training a few horses up to his death.

Arizona HBPA Seeks Executive Director
12/5/2007 12:12:35 PM  -  Arizona HBPA 

Posted: 12/5/07

The Arizona HBPA is currently accepting applications for the position of Executive Director. An understanding of the racing industry, public relations, contract negotiations, lobbying skills, accounting, computer and electronic communications proficiency a must.

Send resume to or Arizona HBPA, P.O. Box 43636, Phoenix, AZ 85080

Horsemen Welcomed Back to Turf Paradise
11/15/2007 12:29:26 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2007 

The Arizona HBPA, Anderson’s Southwest Feed, and C&T Tack hosted a backstretch barbecue on October 25, welcoming back horsemen to the winter meet at Turf Paradise. Close to 400 horsemen showed up to enjoy a picnic-style meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, salads and cake. Bingo was played, with prizes being donated by Anderson’s and C&T Tack. Tom Metzen and Chaplain John Shumaker handled the grilling duties.

The Arizona HBPA has purchased gas grills and set up a picnic area near the basketball court for horsemen to use throughout the race meet.

Health Care Clinic Opens at Turf Paradise
11/15/2007 12:28:28 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2007 

The Arizona HBPA and Turf Paradise were excited to open the doors of a new, jointly sponsored medical clinic for horsemen in November. Located at Turf Paradise in the office trailer previously occupied by the Arizona HBPA, the clinic is under the direction of Dr. Dawn Brokaw, who has 22 years of experience as a trauma surgeon. The clinic will provide much needed health care services free of charge to both front and backside employees and their families.

In order to facilitate the medical clinic, the Arizona HBPA moved its office into the building that houses the Horsemen’s Kitchen. The remodeled space on the northwest side once served as the racing and stewards’ offices. The new, larger office, located across from the training track, should prove very convenient for horsemen. Mailing address and contact numbers (602-942-3336 phone; 602-866-3790 fax) remain the same.

Turf Paradise Hits Stride Early in 2007-08 Meet
11/7/2007 3:34:09 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: October 30, 2007 Last Updated: October 30, 2007

Turf Paradise hopes to improve upon the previous season’s record daily purse distribution at its 2007-08 race meet, which commenced Oct. 5. So far, things seems headed in the right direction.

The Phoenix, Ariz., racetrack averaged $86,709 in daily purse distribution during its last meet despite losing its Pima County simulcast outlets due to a dispute with Tucson Greyhound Park. Through 20 days this season, purses have averaged $88,096 per day with a projection close to $100,000 for the entire meet.

“We’re fortunate that we’re in Arizona,” Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms said. “The growth in Arizona is what’s responsible—in my opinion—for the success of Turf Paradise.”

The upward trend in purses has helped attract horsemen to Turf Paradise, director of racing Shawn Swartz said. Getting full fields can be a challenge at a track that had 133 racing days at its last meet.

“This year was a little better because we increased our purses, and that always brings in more horses,” Swartz said. “I had a good year recruiting and we brought in some new trainers, and we’re looking for a better season in terms of field size.”

Through the first 20 days of the meet, field size has averaged 8.50 horses per race, according to The Jockey Club. For the first 19 days of the meet last year, field size averaged 7.59 horses per race. That’s an increase of almost one horse per race so far this season.

The track has used its extensive off-track betting network to stay competitive despite an increase in American Indian gaming in the state and the allure of slots-enriched races in neighboring New Mexico.

Arizona is second to New York in the number of off-track betting facilities with 66 outlets in the state. All except 10 are controlled by Turf Paradise; the 10 locations in Tucson are managed by Tucson Greyhound Park.

Turf Paradise receives all revenue generated by its 56 OTB facilities, but the restaurant or bar conducting the wagering retains the food and beverage income. The economic model is beneficial to the racetrack and the OTB parlor, Turf Paradise manager Eugene Joyce said.

“We provide (the OTBs) business at a time of day when they normally don’t have many customers, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” Joyce said. “This system is very economical and cost-effective for us.”

And while the population growth has strained the infrastructure, the off-track betting network ensures that handicappers can still wager conveniently.

“With the population growth of Maricopa County, it is so much more difficult to get to the track,” vice president and assistant general manager Dave Johnson said. “You can just go to your local OTB, which is five minutes down the road.”

The growth has caused property values to rise, increasing demand for open space. Before the 2006-07 racing season, part of the Turf Paradise parking lot was developed into a Wal-Mart. But according to Simms, racing interests need not worry about losing the track to redevelopment.

“I was interested in the track for the land it sits on,” Simms said. “The land will keep appreciating, but my plan is to keep it a racetrack.”

Turf Paradise? Violations, poor living conditions at horse race track
11/5/2007 10:55:21 AM  -  Phoenix ABC TV 

Last Update: 10/30 2:10 pm

Thoroughbred racing has high stakes and big pay outs... even attracting royalty... like Queen Elizabeth at the Kentucky Derby.

In Phoenix, the Sport of Kings is ruled by Jerry Simms. He's the owner of Turf Paradise. And in his kingdom we found an on-going feud with state officials over poor, unsafe living conditions and environmental hazards.

Kristin Harp worked and lived at what she calls the backside of Turf Paradise. She took care of horses and lived just outside their stalls. She said her home had no hot water, leaky ceilings and cracked floors. And that's exactly what our hidden cameras found.

"The bathrooms were pretty nasty. A lot of toilet paper with feces and urine on the floors. The showers, I don't think they ever cleaned them. There's black mold. There's a lot of stuff."

One worker there told us he hung plastic up to keep the rain from leaking all over his belongings.

Underneath the neglect and filth we found that the Department of Racing, Department of Gaming, Environmental Quality, Phoenix Fire, Environmental Services, Occupational Safety and Health ...all had issues with Jerry Simms.

The Department of Racing only gave Simms a conditional license. In various documents, the state calls him 'undesirable', 'unsuitable' and a 'danger to gaming'.

Simms initially wouldn't talk to us, but we caught up with him at his office and asked him why there are so many grooms living in small spaces? Simms replied, "oh, just the opposite. We just created 87 dormitories. We actually the only track in the state that created 87 dormitories."

Simms says he put in fire doors, sprinklers and smoke alarms in the supply closets. Now he calls them dormitories. He says grooms always lived in tack rooms. They do that all over the country.

Harp says it still means there are three to seven people sleeping in these small spaces. She says, "its just not feasible. There's just too many people."

As for the conditional license, Simms claims its not conditional. And blames one state official for his troubles, "it is really one person with a vendetta."

Simms responded to the state in writing regarding the issues raised in his conditional license. He insists all the allegations are false.

Turf Paradise | Chambers has horse on streak
11/5/2007 10:26:25 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 11/1/2007, 6:58 pm

PHOENIX - Nationhood looks to make it six straight wins as he heads the field in Saturday's $45,000 Caballos del Sol at Turf Paradise. The six-furlong event for 3-year-olds and upward drew a field of seven.

But the race likely hinges on how Nationhood performs. A 5-year-old son of Cherokee Run owned by Cander Racing and trained by Mike Chambers, Nationhood won a maiden race at Hollywood in May, then went to Emerald Downs and rattled off three straight big wins while steadily moving up in class.

Nationhood came to Turf Paradise for the Oct. 16 Zip Pocket and showed how he had developed, crushing a field of sprinters by 6 1/4 lengths and posting a Beyer Speed Figure of 97. He worked a dazzling 33.80-second three furlongs here Oct. 27 to show he retains his edge. Seth Martinez, aboard for the Zip Pocket, has the call again.

There are a couple of worthy challengers. Corredor del Oro may be just a 3-year-old, but he merits respect after being awarded the win in the Saguaro here Oct. 13. That day he dueled for the lead and finished second to the highly regarded Song of Pirates, but got smacked on the face by that rival's whip and was moved from second to first. His Beyer Figure was 90, meaning he isn't that far behind Nationhood. Jocelyne Kenny rides again for trainer Dan McFarlane.

Cut of Music invades from Arapahoe, where he won two stakes this summer for Colorado-breds. Trained by Kevin Eikleberry, he has not run since Aug. 5. He has won four races at Turf Paradise and 15 overall.

Prorunner was no match for Nationhood when he finished third in the Zip Pocket, beaten nine lengths. That, however, was the 5-year-old gelding's first start since June. He has ample back class, having been stakes-placed in several stakes here. He was good enough to be fifth against the best sprinters on the grounds in the Phoenix Gold Cup here last February.

Barron H keeps on winning at Turf Paradise
10/19/2007 9:44:50 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 10/17/2007, 5:50 pm

Apparently, the 9-year-old Barron H isn't ready to retire any time soon. The veteran warrior registered his 18th victory in 70 starts in the fourth race at Turf Paradise last Friday.

Ridden by Chris Landeros for trainer Troy Bainum, the favored Barron H ($3.60) won in a hand ride by six lengths, covering the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.98.

"He's an old trooper and his record speaks for itself," Landeros said. "He just galloped for the fun of winning."

In addition to all those wins, Barron H has 17 seconds and 10 thirds, and has earnings of $383,318.

* Leading rider Landeros put together back-to-back three-win days Monday and Tuesday.

"Trainers are giving me opportunities and things are going my way right now," said Landeros, 19. "I feel grateful."

Arizona Law Makes Taking Account Bets a Felony
9/26/2007 4:17:47 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 9/26/2007 12:26:33 PM Last Updated: 9/26/2007 12:37:23 PM

Account wagering companies no longer are accepting wagers from Arizona residents due to a law that took effect Sept. 19.

Under House Bill 2694, any individual outside of a licensed racetrack or off-track betting facility that accepts a wager or bets on the results of a race is guilty of a class six felony, which can bring imprisonment.

HB2694 amends section 5-112 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, which provide the guidelines for pari-mutuel wagering on the results of races and regulated simulcasts. Buying, selling, cashing, exchanging, or acquiring a financial interest in a pari-mutuel ticket are all considered to be accepting a wager or betting on the results of a race.

Many representatives of the Arizona horse racing industry offered their support for HB2694 during a Feb. 15 state Committee on Water and Agriculture meeting. Among the supporters were representatives of Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, the Yavapai Downs County Fair Association, the Arizona Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and the Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

Account wagering, also known as advance deposit wagering, was never legalized in Arizona, which prevented Arizona racetracks from negotiating with ADW companies. Despite a lack of explicit legal consent, ADW companies still accepted bets from Arizona residents while contributing no revenue to Arizona racetracks or to purse accounts, except host-track fees on Turf Paradise and Yavapai Downs races.

With HB2694 now in effect, the ADW companies were forced to close the accounts of their Arizona customers or face felony charges.

“It was already in the law that you couldn’t do account wagering,” said Jerry Simms, owner of Turf Paradise in Phoenix. “(HB2694) puts teeth into it.”

The suspension of account wagering has upset Arizona horseplayers who held wagering accounts. Some members of the forum Web site, including those that live outside the state of Arizona, have pledged to boycott Arizona racetracks that supported HB2694.

Randy Fozzard, racing manager for Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, said he hopes account wagering will return to Arizona, albeit under a new model.

“I wish that ADW was legal in Arizona, and I wish that the model could operate where source-market fees are paid to the tracks, like in California, New York, Kentucky, or other states,” Fozzard said.

ADW companies were operating in Arizona, unscathed by any regulation, but were willing to pay source-market fees to tracks, Fozzard said.

“But our state has a law that says only wagers can be accepted at the racetrack enclosure or at an off-track betting site,” he said. “We weren’t allowed to participate with the ADW companies in receiving source-market fees, but they were unimpeded in their ability to (accept wagers from Arizona customers).”, an ADW company, expressed its opinion of HB2694 in an e-mail sent to its Arizona customers, describing the law as “clearly unlawful, unconstitutional, and protectionist.” According to the e-mail, is “reviewing the situation with its attorneys.”

Should any ADW company challenge HB2694 in court, it could possibly contend that a wager made through an ADW that operates outside of Arizona is made in the hub state, and therefore not subject to restriction under Arizona law. To date, no judge has ruled on whether such a bet is considered to be made where the account-holder legally resides, where the ADW company’s hub is located, or where the track is located.

Fozzard said Arizona racetracks previously supported legislation that would have legalized ADW and therefore allowed the racetracks to negotiate with ADW companies.

“We tried to pass a law that would allow ADW where we could receive source-market fees,” Fozzard said. “There’s an 800-pound gorilla in Arizona--the Indian tribes--whose interests the legislature will protect. We had absolutely zero hope of passing the ADW bill. What can’t happen is where (ADW companies accept wagers) but aren’t allowed to pay us.”

Yavapai Downs Horsemen's Party
9/15/2007 8:04:51 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2007 

The Arizona HBPA held a horsemen’s party in the grandstand at Yavapai Downs on the evening of August 5.

Attendees were treated to a delicious spread of Italian food, including chicken parmesan, spaghetti, Italian sausage, and pizza, while being entertained by a great live band. In addition, many door prizes were given away to horsemen, courtesy of generous donations from a number of industry vendors.

The Arizona HBPA would like to thank all the volunteers and donors who helped make the party such a fun evening for everyone in attendance.

Reminder to Sign Up for Dental Coverage
9/15/2007 8:02:09 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2007 

The Arizona HBPA has made an affordable dental insurance program available to member horsemen and stable area employees. This program is replacing our on-track dental unit that operated in past years during the Turf Paradise race meet.

The Arizona HBPA is using its funds previously allocated to underwrite the dental unit to offset and reduce the cost to individuals of the dental insurance plan.

Employers Dental Services (EDS) is the largest pre-paid dental plan in the state of Arizona, offering employer groups and individuals quality, affordable dental services. With offices in both Phoenix and Tucson, EDS offers exceptional service and a large, statewide provider network. The EDS plan includes vision and prescription discounts with its dental plan.

Please contact the Arizona HBPA office at (602) 942-3336 for more information and to sign up.

Turf Paradise Meet Set to Open with Record Purses
9/15/2007 8:00:25 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2007 

Horsemen returning to Phoenix for the October 5th opening of the 156-day Turf Paradise meet will compete for higher purses due to the signing of a new horsemen’s agreement on July 5th that resulted in an approximate $1.8 million purse increase. The average daily purse distribution will be $100,000, up 12% from the prior year. This amount may be further increased if an offtrack betting (OTB) agreement between Turf Paradise and Tucson Greyhound Park is reached.

Horsemen will also come back to a renovated racing strip and horsemen’s kitchen.

Turf Paradise will run Fridays through Tuesdays, October 5, 2007 through May 4, 2008, with simulcasting on the dark days.

Thoroughbred owner Shoemaker dies
8/29/2007 9:48:13 AM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2007 2:59 PM

Mary McLeod Shoemaker, who served six terms on the Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders Association board, died on August 19 in Tucson. She was 85.

Shoemaker campaigned Strategically, a three-time stakes winner at Turf Paradise in 2005. She also raced horses in Southern California.

Shoemaker lived most of her life at Rilitto Farm. Her racing silks, which feature a red Maltese cross, trace back to her great grandfather, pioneering shipping executive Sir Roderick Cameron. Cameron imported the English-bred Thoroughbred *Leamington, sire of the first Kentucky Derby winner Aristides.

Shoemaker served for many years on the Pima County Horse Racing Commission that oversees racing at Rillito Park in Tucson.

Donations in Shoemaker’s memory can be made to the Equine Encore Foundation in Tucson.

Tucson-Area Bettors Can Play Horses--for Now
6/29/2007 1:51:20 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 6/27/2007 10:13:57 AM Last Updated: 6/27/2007 12:05:19 PM

Simulcasting on Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races temporarily returned to Pima County, Ariz., with the start of the 2007 Yavapai Downs meet in late May.

Horseplayers in the county, which includes Tucson, had been unable to wager on simulcast horse races since the conclusion of the Yavapai meet in September 2006 because of a dispute between two other racetracks in the state.

Turf Paradise, a Thoroughbred race track in Phoenix, and Tucson Greyhound Park have been unable to strike a deal on the simulcasts. If Turf Paradise and Tucson Greyhound can’t reach an agreement on a new simulcast contract, the blackout will return to the county Sept. 5 the day after the conclusion of the Yavapai meet.

The dispute has been costly to horseman at Turf Paradise. According to the Arizona Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the lack of simulcasting in Pima County, which has an estimated population of 946,000, cost the horsemen approximately $600,000 in purse money during the 2006-07 Turf Paradise meet, which ran from Oct. 6-May 6.

Yavapai, located north of Phoenix near the old Prescott Downs, executed a contract with the Greyhound track and the Pima County Horsemen’s Association, allowing Tucson Greyhound to offer simulcast wagering at its facility and its 10 off-track betting sites.

“It serves everybody to have (off-track betting on horses) in Pima County,” said Randy Fozzard, director of simulcasting for Yavapai.

Vince Francia, director of marketing and media communications for Turf Paradise, said the dispute between Turf Paradise and Tucson Greyhound is about simulcast revenue splits between the two tracks.

“Our hope is to have the issue resolved by the start of the next Turf Paradise meeting,” Francia said.

According to state statute, both the Pima County Horsemen’s Association, which runs Rillito Park, and Tucson Greyhound must agree to the terms of any contract to allow simulcast wagering on horse races in Pima County. In addition, the two parties must also receive the permission of Turf Paradise or Yavapai, depending on which of those two tracks is racing live, before they can conduct simulcast wagering on horse races. As a result, neither Tucson Greyhound nor Rillito can negotiate simulcast contracts with other horse tracks on their own.

Tensions between Turf Paradise and Tucson Greyhound have run high since the spring of 2006, when the Greyhound track publicly opposed legislation that at one point had a provision that would have legalized account wagering in Arizona.

Despite the loss of purse money, the Arizona HBPA supports Turf Paradise’s decision to not renew its contract with Tucson Greyhound.

“The horsemen share in the loss, but we still stand with Turf Paradise on the issue,” Arizona HBPA secretary and treasurer Sarah Struck said.

Bettors can still patronize Tucson Greyhound or any of its OTB sites and wager on simulcast Greyhound races. Tucson Greyhound officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

Congratulat ions to Turf Paradise Year -End Leaders and Award Recipients
6/6/2007 9:28:41 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2007 

The Arizona HBPA offers its congratulations to the following year-end leaders and award recipients from the Turf Paradise meeting:

• Leading Owner – Les Blake
• Leading Trainer – Keith Bennett
• Leading Jockey – Glen Corbett
• Leading Apprentice Jockey – Chris Landeros
• Walter Cluer – Bradley Rollins (posthumously)
• Quarter Horse of the Meet – Budj, Rodrigo Gonzalez, owner/trainer
• Three-Year-Old Filly and Arizona-Bred – Staten Island, owned by Dennis Weir; trained by Kevin Lewis
• Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding – The Rod, owned by John Pendergast & Joe Johnson; trained by Joe Johnson
• Four-Year-Old Filly – Queen Razyana, Dancer’s Hill Racing Stable and Ron & Brenda Chappell, owner/trainer
• Four-Year-Old Colt/Gelding – Trail This, Robert & Lisa Score, owner/trainer
• Whinny – Sandy Anderson, Anderson Feed Store
• Turf Horse of the Meet – Capitano, Vicken Meguerdichian, owner/trainer
• Older Mare – Victorina, Harry Aleo & Greg Gilchrist, owner/trainer
• Sprinter and Claimer Awards and Horse of the Meet – Relanto Del Gato, owned by Robert Bone; trained by Keith Bennett

Negotiations Ongoing with Turf Paradise Management
6/6/2007 9:26:01 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2007 

The Arizona HBPA continues to vigorously support member interests with regard to ongoing developments at Turf Paradise. We have been working to secure an equitable share of revenues for owners, while promoting safer and healthier conditions for the horses and the staff members maintaining the facility.

The Arizona HBPA has also launched a careful review of the Turf Paradise counter-proposal relating to a 50-50 split of remaining off-track betting (OTB) revenues once advertising expenses are deducted. The main issue of contention is a reported figure of $600,000 for advertising that is to be taken from purses. The Arizona HBPA is concerned that this expense has been unfairly inflated by Turf Paradise to include payroll, employee bonuses, administrative, and other operating expenditures that do not reflect actual advertising costs.

The Arizona HBPA has negotiated with Turf Paradise in good faith and is continuing with hopes of reaching a win-win consensus. Other issues of concern include precisely defining Turf Paradise’s commitment to required maintenance and repairs to the facility, which are presently being negotiated.

The concessions that Turf Paradise is offering have been achieved due to the horsemen’s united position. Nevertheless, Simms has advised that unless he can resolve issues with the city and state to receive relief, he may not continue to operate Turf Paradise. That will ultimately be something that he has to decide.

In the meantime, the Arizona HBPA continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Turf Paradise to promote its continued viability. We have supported Turf Paradise at the state legislature in dealing with the Tucson issue and in front of the racing commission to bring new OTBs online. The Arizona HBPA anticipates that these activities will result in increased purse revenues.

Yavapai Downs: Moores Bridge heads meet opener
5/28/2007 9:42:06 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 5/24/2007, 6:37 pm

Yavapai Downs, the summer retreat for Arizona racing, begins its 56-day meet Saturday at the Yavapai County fairgrounds near the town of Prescott Valley. The meet runs through Sept. 4 with racing primarily on a Saturday-through-Tuesday schedule, but there will be live racing this Wednesday. Yavapai will be dark from June 30 through July 4, while racing is conducted at nearby Flagstaff.

This will be Yavapai Downs's sixth season. The mile track, about a 1 1/2-hour drive north of Phoenix, was built to replace the aged and dilapidated Prescott Downs. The track is open seven days a week for full-card simulcasting.

The opening-day feature, the $21,000 Gerry Howard Inaugural Handicap, is for 3-year-olds and upward at six furlongs. A field of eight has been entered, headed by the multiple stakes winner Moores Bridge. A 6-year-old gelding owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Kevin Lewis, Moores Bridge won the Caballos del Sol at Turf Paradise last October and most recently was an impressive winner of the Grand Canyon Handicap there April 28. Vince Guerra rides Moores Bridge, the likely favorite.

His main challenge may come from Cat of Fifty Seven, who invades from Southern California. Trainer Chad Ferguson and owner Coal Creek Ranch claimed him out of a third-place finish at Santa Anita April 19 for $25,000. He has 3 victories in 17 starts, but also has been second 9 times. If he adapts to his new surroundings he figures to be dangerous. Alberto Higuera rides.

Neither Moores Bridge nor Cat of Fifty Seven has raced over the Yavapai strip. Instantly, however, won his career debut over the track back in July 2003. Trained by Lyman Rollins, the 7-year-old Instantly will be making his first start of the year in this spot.

Instantly hasn't run since finishing fifth in the Hang on Slewpy at Turf Paradise Nov. 28, but 5 of his 6 wins and 7 of his 8 runner-up finishes have come over the Yavapai track. He finished fifth in this race last year after a much-troubled start. Joe Durigon rides.

Turf Paradise: Apprentice gets her first triple
3/23/2007 2:09:03 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 3/21/07

Apprentice Lori Keith, 23, had her first three-win day Sunday at Turf Paradise. She brought home consecutive winners Uncle Ed ($7.80) in the sixth and Ratifier ($15) in the seventh. She capped her day by taking the nightcap with AKA Quickdraw ($7). Keith, from England, came right back Monday to score a wire-to-wire upset in the fifth race with Point Me the Way ($27.20).

* The WinStar Derby and Sunland Oaks were the focal points of last Sunday's card at Sunland Park, but Phoenix-area owner Don Heim had a good day there himself. He shipped Genes Boy there for the $100,000 New Mexico Breeders Derby, and the 3-year-old came away with the upset victory, paying $33.

* As part of Ladies Day on Saturday, April 21, Turf Paradise will host a postrace concert by Davy Jones of the Monkees. Jones, also a Thoroughbred owner, is expected to ship one of his horses in for a race that day.

Wanted: Member E-Mail Addresses
3/13/2007 10:13:26 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2007 

The Arizona HBPA has been putting together a database of member e-mail addresses to facilitate better communication with its membership, especially on legislative and other time-critical issues.

Last year, the Arizona HBPA was successful in sheparding the bill that increased by 50% the money for county fair racing, Arizona breeder awards and the other racing-supported funds through the Legislature. Kevin Eikleberry, Arziona HBPA president at the time, and Board member Tom Bartol strategized with lobbyist Bas Aja, who arranged for them to meet with Senator Jake Flake. Senator Flake subsequently supported the bill.

Already in the current legislative session, the horse industry has been able to kill, at the committee level, SB 1551, which was Tucson Greyhound Park’s bill that was detrimental to all other racing in the state. The ability the kill that bill was due, in part, to horsemen’s quick response to the Arizona HBPA’s call to action to contact legislative committee members and voice their opposition to the bill.

If you haven’t done so already, please provide your e-mail address to the Arizona HBPA at

Statewide Dental, Vision and Prescription Plan Introduced
3/13/2007 10:11:58 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2007 

The Arizona HBPA is pleased to be able to offer to member horsemen and stable area employees an affordable dental insurance program. This program is replacing our on-track dental unit that operated in past years during the Turf Paradise race meet. The dental unit was not able to open this year, left in the wake of the City of Phoenix’s descent upon the stable area of Turf Paradise.

However, true to the saying, “When a door closes, a window opens,” the Arizona HBPA has found a dental health program of which many more members will be able to take advantage than those who were able to use the dental unit. The Arizona HBPA is using its funds previously allocated to underwrite the dental unit to offset and reduce the cost to individuals of the dental insurance plan.

Employers Dental Services (EDS) is the largest pre-paid dental plan in the state of Arizona, offering employer groups and individuals quality, affordable dental services. With offices in both Phoenix and Tucson, EDS offers exceptional service and a large, statewide provider network. The EDS plan includes vision and prescription discounts with its dental plan.

Please contact the Arizona HBPA office at (602) 942-3336 for more information and to sign up.

Turf Paradise: Tie Rod leads local derby cast
2/19/2007 8:37:57 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted 2/15/2007, 7:03 pm

PHOENIX - A couple of local championships will likely be settled at Turf Paradise Saturday, when 3-year-olds run in the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby and the $75,000 Arizona Oaks.

The derby, which goes as race 7 on the nine-race card, drew a field of nine going 1 1/16 miles. The Oaks (race 8), for fillies, has a full field of 10 plus one also-eligible ready to knock heads over a mile.

Tie Rod staked his claim as top local male 3-year-old with a resounding 10 3/4-length win in the Rattlesnake at Turf Paradise on Jan. 26. Owned by John Pendergrast and Joe Johnson, and trained by Johnson, Tie Rod had mixed results sprinting. But in the one-mile Rattlesnake, he pressed the pace under Juan Rivera, took over down the backside, and ran away from the rest of the field. His 85 Beyer Speed Figure is the best in the derby field, and anything near a repeat of that effort probably means the others are fighting for second.

Tie Rod appears to have retained his edge. He had a bullet five-furlong work in 58 seconds here on Feb. 9, the best of 24 at the distance that day.

The main danger to Tie Rod in the derby comes from California in the presence of Gregorian Bay, who is owned by George Todaro and trained by Craig Dollase. Gregorian Bay won his maiden at Hollywood Park Nov. 30, then was second going a mile at Golden Gate Dec. 29. He's by Breeders' Cup Mile winner War Chant out of a Seattle Slew mare, so surely the distance is right up his alley. He has some strong works for this and gets the services of leading rider Glenn Corbett.

Meanwhile, California invaders Summertime, Slew o' Platinum, and Blushing Bear Cat appear set to dominate the Oaks.

Summertime won her maiden in her debut at Hollywood Park Dec. 13 - enough for her connections to try the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita Jan. 15 for her next start. She ran seventh, behind the high-class Jump On In, but should prefer this softer company. Her sire, Siberian Summer, won the Strub Stakes, so distance should not be a problem.

Slew o' Platinum is a proven commodity locally. She shipped here from California and won the Sun Devil at a mile in the mud on Jan. 20. Blushing Bear Cat comes off two straight wins in Southern California, including an impressive allowance win at Santa Anita Jan. 15 at this distance.

The best local hopes are Staten Island and Against the Law. Staten Island finished second to Slew o' Platinum in the Sun Devil after setting the pace. Against the Law appeared to be the local division leader after four big wins, but was a well-beaten third in the Arizona Juvenile Filly. She bounced back gamely to win the Dancin at the Wire here Feb. 3. Those were all sprints, however, so she's trying a new game.

Arizona Juvenile renamed to honor 'Fog'
12/13/2006 6:25:46 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 12/13/2006

Track management announced that the Dec. 31 Arizona Juvenile has been renamed the $50,000 Lost in the Fog Juvenile, honoring the late champion sprinter of 2005 who holds the course record here for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Lost in the Fog sizzled the distance in 1:13.55 to win the 2004 Arizona Juvenile by slightly more than 14 lengths, just .35 of a second off the world record. Owned by Harry Aleo and trained by Greg Gilchrist, Lost in the Fog was euthanized in September after suffering from cancer.

Gilchrist announced he will be sending the Aleo-owned Vicarino for the 6 1/2-furlong Lost in the Fog. Vicarino set a Fresno track record of 1:07.34 for six furlongs.

* R Big Stuff ($2.80) had no trouble showing his superiority over 11 male 2-year-old Arizona-breds when he romped by nearly seven lengths in the $61,362 Arizona Breeders Futurity (colt and gelding division) last Saturday for trainer Molly Pearson.

Ridden by Miguel Hernandez for owner Gary Stevenson, R Big Stuff pressed the early pace before taking command. he covered the six furlongs in 1:08.40.

"He's got plenty of talent, and after four starts he's learned to relax," said Hernandez.

Pearson confirmed R Big Stuff's next start will be the Lost in the Fog Juvenile.

Meanwhile, Staten Island ($3.80) with Sandi Gann up, was a 1 3/4-length winner over M J's Headache in the $58,014 filly division. Staten Island's stablemate Beacon Falls was third.

There's trouble ahead for Staten Island if she goes for the Dec. 30 Arizona Juvenile Fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs. That $40,000 event is the next stop for Against the Law, who won her fourth straight and third stakes in a row in Monday's $24,900 To the Post. Owned by John Campo III, Against the Law covered the six furlongs in 1:09.04 under Glenn Corbett for trainer Dan McFarlane.

Rillito Park 2007 Dates Approved
11/29/2006 5:15:37 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2006 

On November 8, the Arizona Racing Commission approved fair dates for Rillito Park. Pima County Fair at Rillito Park will conduct live racing on February 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, and 25, and March 3 and 4, 2007. No commercial dates were requested by Rillito Park for 2007.

Racehorses Need Pensions, Too
11/29/2006 5:14:45 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2006 

Second Call Fund is the racehorse retirement, rehabilitation, and adoption program established and supported by Arizona racing industry participants. Owners contribute through a voluntary donation of $1 per start at every racing venue in the state. Second Call Fund was established as a restricted fund with the Turf Paradise Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, in order to provide racehorses that sustain career-ending injuries on an Arizona track a dignified retirement or a transition into a second, non-racing career. Second Call Fund differentiates itself from many other horse rescue and adoption agencies by being committed to the horse’s welfare for the remainder of its life.

Persons wishing to adopt a horse are interviewed, and facilities are approved prior to a horse being placed. Follow-ups are conducted to make sure that continuing quality care is being provided. If, for any reason, the horse is no longer suitable or cannot be kept, Second Call Fund takes the horse back and will re-place it in another caring home. Second Call Fund uses individuals, as well as other adoption groups that agree with the philosophy and terms of the Fund, to rehabilitate and provide foster care until adopted.

Second Call Fund is currently providing for foster care of 17 horses.

Contact Sarah Struck at (602) 920-4272 or Pam Eikleberry at (480) 390-1481 for more information about the Second Call Fund.

2006-2007 Race Dates
9/16/2006 7:02:15 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2006 

Turf Paradise (Phoenix): October 6, 2006 - May 6, 2007
Apache County Fair @ St. Johns: September 16, 17, 23, 24, 2006
Gila County Fair @ Globe: September 30, October 1, 7, 8, 2006
Rillito Park (Tucson): 2007 dates pending
Pima County Fair @ Rillito Park: January 20, 21, 27, 28, 2007
Greenlee County Fair @ Duncan: March 10, 11, 17, 18, 2007
Graham County Fair @ Safford: March 24, 25, 31, April 1, 2007
Cochise County Fair @ Douglas: April 14, 15, 21, 22, 2007
Santa Cruz County Fair @ Sonoita: April 28, 29, May 5, 6, 2007
Mohave County Fair @ Kingman: May 12, 13, 19, 20, 2007
Yuma County Fair @ Yavapai Downs: May 26, 27, 28, 29, 2007
Coconino County Fair @ Flagstaff (Ft. Tuthill): 2007 dates pending
Yavapai Downs (Prescott Valley): May 26 - September 4, 2007

Yavapai Downs Report
9/16/2006 7:00:44 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2006 

Through the first 11 weeks of the 14-week meet, Yavapai Downs was showing an approximately 10% increase in in-state handle over 2005. The torrential monsoon thunderstorms that have often caused race day cancellations in past seasons have threatened but not been a factor so far. Owners should expect to receive a retropayment of underpaid purses at the end of the meet.

Hall of Fame rider Pat Day walked the barn area, talking with horsemen and catching up with old friends at Yavapai Downs at Prescott Valley on the morning of July 29. Day, who got his first win 33 years ago at the old Prescott Downs in Prescott, Arizona, was in town as the centerpiece of a fundraising event for the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.

Pat presided at the meeting in the jockey’s room before the races, signed autographs for fans in the grandstand throughout the afternoon, and gave his presentation, “What a Difference a Day Makes,” to horsemen following an Arizona HBPA barbeque held at the Coors Event Center at Yavapai Downs that evening.

A silent auction of donated items was held, and $3,600 was raised for the chaplaincy’s building fund. Pat stayed overnight to attend Sunday services at the chapel.

Yavapai Downs meet concludes with handle gains
9/11/2006 6:15:58 PM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

Posted: 9/9/2006 4:39:15 PM

Yavapai Downs reported gains in total handle and average daily on-track handle for its 60-day meeting, which concluded September 5.

The Prescott Valley, Arizona, track also reported gains in total and average daily handle at the state's 63 in-state off-track betting facilities as well as from out-of-state wagering.

Handle from all sources averaged $516,034, a 5.9% increase from 2005, which also ran 60 days, while total handle for the meeting climbed to $49,539,238, compared with $46,776,494 last year.

Raul Hernandez topped the trainer standings with 32 wins, while Lorenzo Lopez won the jockey title with 75 wins. John and Mary Allred were the leading owners with ten victories.

Turf Paradise boosts six stakes
8/23/2006 4:48:40 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 8/23/06

Turf Paradise increased purses for six of the 46 stakes for the 2006-2007 season, bringing total stakes purses to more than $2.1. The 156-day meet begins Oct. 6 and runs through May 6, 2007. Live racing will be conducted five days a week, generally Friday through Tuesday, with the track open seven days a week for simulcast wagering.

The Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile, named after the late coach and executive of the Phoenix Suns, had its purse raised from $40,000 to $75,000, and serves as the traditional prep for the $75,000 Turf Paradise Handicap. The Cotton Fitzsimmons will be run Saturday, Jan. 6. The Turf Paradise Handicap will be run Saturday, Feb. 24, as part of a meet's marquee day, which includes the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup.

Both the Turf Paradise Derby and Phoenix Gold Cup were raised from $75,000 to $100,000. The derby is slated for Feb. 17. The Arizona Juvenile Stakes and the Glendale and Sun City handicaps have been each been raised from $40,000 to $50,000.

An addition to the stakes roster is the $40,000 G Malleah. Named after the local sprint specialist who holds the world record for six furlongs of 1:06.60, the G Malleah will be run Feb. 3.

Committee recommends Rillito close and racing move to Tucson suburb
7/11/2006 4:48:50 PM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

Posted: 7/11/2006 2:37:09 PM

An advisory committee has recommended that Rillito Park in Tucson, Arizona, close after the 2010 season and be replaced by a new track in suburban Marana.

The Rillito grandstand would be torn down to make room for 18 new soccer fields. Funding for the new track and soccer fields would be dependent on a future bond package, the Arizona Daily Star reports. Marana is about 20 miles northwest of 63-year-old Rillito in Tucson.

The advisory committee is made up of representatives of local youth sports and the local horse racing industry. Patricia White, Rillito's general manager and director of racing, supports the plan.

Turf Paradise Seasonal Awards
5/31/2006 6:01:20 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2006 

Turf Paradise concluded its meet on May 21. Congratulations go out to the following meet leaders and divisional champions:

Leading Owner – Jim Hill

Leading Trainer – Troy Bainum

Leading Jockey – Miguel Hernandez

Older Mare and Horse of the Meet – Muir Beach, owned by Dennis Weir; trained by Dan McFarlane

Four-Year-Old Colt/Gelding and Turf Horse – Western Act, owned by Cory Kellogg & Doyle Huber; trained by Cory Kellogg

Sprinter – Jungle Prince, owned by Bently, Burk, Sciaara, et al.; trained by Juan Garcia

Claimer – Frostmark, Steve Talbot, owner/trainer

Arizona-Bred – Lil Easy, Jacque Guerra, owner/trainer

Quarter Horse – Fast Movin Snow, owned by Arturo Oviedo Salazar; trained by Gerardo Ochoa

Three-Year-Old Filly – Silly Little Mama, owned by Stacy Campo; trained by Dan McFarlane

Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding – Keagen, Olson, Bafus, Stevenson & Kruljac, owners; Eric Kruljac, trainer

Four-Year-Old Filly – Katy Smiles, Richard Galyen, owner; David Van Winkle, trainer

Additionally, the Walter Cluer Award was presented to Bob Yeager, the Whinny Award to JoAnn Fitzsimmons, and Groom of the Meet Award went to Eladio “Oscar” Hernandez Sandoval.

Arizona Election Results
5/31/2006 5:59:53 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2006 

The Arizona HBPA’s election concluded in mid-April. Elected to the Board of Directors were the following:

President: Mike Napier

Owner Directors: Terri Ferguson, Tom Metzen, Gary Miller, Linda Parker and Quinton Reeves

Trainer-Owner/Trainer Directors: George Bango, Tom Bartol, Bart Hone, Ray Odom and Larry Wells; trainer alternates are Bill Harris and Debi Ferguson

The new Board members took office on April 25.

Mike Napier is joined by the Board in being committed to improving communications with the membership. To that end, a questionnaire has been sent out asking members for contact information and matters of interest and/or concern. Please take the time to complete and return the questionnaire, if you have not done so already. If you did not receive one in the mail, please contact the Arizona HBPA office at (602) 942-3336 to verify your current address.

Yavapai Downs - Horses head north, where weather is cool
5/26/2006 3:35:07 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 5/25/06

Arizona racing makes its annual migration north to Prescott Valley on Saturday as Yavapai Downs opens its doors for its sixth summer meeting. Racing concluded at Turf Paradise in Phoenix last Sunday, and Yavapai Downs, located about 1 1/2 hours north, kicks off its 60-day meet, with racing to be conducted through Sept. 5.

As temperatures begin to soar in the Phoenix area, the Prescott Valley area, located at an elevation of about 5,000 feet, remains cool. Yavapai Downs was inaugurated in 2001, replacing the old Prescott Downs.

The opening-day program has nine races, highlighted by the $20,000 Gerry Howard Inaugural Handicap. The six-furlong event, for 3-year-olds and upward, lured a field of nine, headed by Instantly.

A 6-year-old gelding owned by the Sandra Hall Trust and trained by Lyman Rollins, Instantly has done his best work at Yavapai, with 3 of his 4 wins having come there. He couldn't quite handle some of the top runners at Turf Paradise the last few months of 2005 and has been given time off since December. He's been working smartly for this return, including a bullet five-furlong move in 58.40 seconds at Turf Paradise last Saturday. Vince Guerra rides.

Instantly has a number of sharp rivals. Smokealicious comes off an easy win in the Silvey's Image at Turf Paradise last month, and My Cupid, the 120-pound highweight, was last seen facing some of the best sprinters in Arizona in the Grand Canyon at Turf Paradise on April 29.

Return of the King comes off a strong win over restricted claimers at Turf Paradise last month, and Wildpayday won 2 of his last 3 starts there. Motivo dueled for the lead and faltered in the Gerry Howard Memorial at Turf Paradise on May 2, but prior to that romped over claimers by more than six lengths, posting a career-best Beyer of 90. Motivo boasts a bullet three-furlong work in 34.20 seconds at Turf Paradise on May 16.

Lill's Fame comes off two romping wins over low-level claimers at Turf Paradise.

At a glance

RACING SCHEDULE: 60 days; Saturday through Sept. 5, Saturday through Tuesday; full-card simulcasting every day. No live racing July 1-4.

POST TIME: 1:10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1:35 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

ADMISSIONS: Saturday and Sunday, $2.50; Monday and Tuesday, free.

SEATING: Apron (outdoors), free; clubhouse table, $10; box, $18.

PARKING: Free; RV space, $29 a night.

LOCATION: Highway 89A, northeast of Prescott Valley, a few miles West of I-17, about 1 1/2 hours north of Phoenix.

PHONE: (928) 775-8000


Turf Paradise business up
5/26/2006 2:46:43 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 5/23/06

Turf Paradise's 50th anniversary meeting, which ended Sunday, saw gains in all areas, with the average daily total handle on Turf Paradise races up 7.6 percent from the 2004-2005 meet.

The average daily handle on the live races for the 164-day meet was $1,420,853, compared with $1,320,169 at the previous meeting. The 2004-2005 meeting was 160 days after seven were lost to bad weather. This meet, originally scheduled for 166 days, had two cards scrapped because of bad weather.

The track's daily average on all racing - live and imported simulcasts - was $2,174,497, up 7.1 percent from last season's $2,030,132.

This season's average daily attendance was 2,180, up 2.4 percent from the 2,127 in 2004-05.

Miguel Hernandez, 40, won his first riding title, notching 119 victories on all breeds, just edging Glen Corbett's 117. Troy Bainum successfully defended his Thoroughbred training title at Turf Paradise, with 68 victories. Jim Hill was the leading owner with 32 wins.

Muir Beach, owned by Dennis E. Weir and trained by Dan L. McFarlane, was named horse of the meet for the second consecutive season. Muir Beach won 4 of his 7 starts at the meeting, finishing second twice and third in his other start. He closed out the meet with victories in the Cactus Flower and Desert Sky handicaps.

Racing returns to Turf Paradise Oct. 6 for a scheduled 156 days.

Turf Paradise track report
4/6/2006 11:24:53 AM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 4/5/06

You can't keep an old man down. Our Best Man, at the ripe age of 9, showed no signs of losing his competitive nature as he won his 15th race in 95 career starts Sunday at Turf Paradise.

Ridden by Adolfo Morales, Our Best Man beat some relatively young whippersnappers in the day's fifth race, finishing three-quarters of a length ahead of 6-year-old Il Meglio, with 5-year-old Adobe Hills another length back in third. Our Best Man paid $7 to win, and covered the 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf in 1:30 for trainer David Van Winkle.

"He has a little age on him, but still has lots of heart," said Van Winkle. "He won a few stakes when he was younger. I was certainly proud of him."

Our Best Man's win put him over the $300,000 mark in career earnings.

* Trainer Nick Hines's stakes slump at Turf Paradise is over. The Southern California-based trainer sent out Horse B With You to easily win last Saturday's $40,000 Scottsdale Handicap at about a mile on the turf over six other 3-year-old fillies.

"It took me 12 years to break the Phoenix jinx and win a stakes," said Hines. "I'm coming back with this filly. I don't know for what stakes or when, but I'm on a roll and I'm coming back."

Claimed by Hines for $80,000 on Feb. 4 at Santa Anita, Horse B With You finished out of the money in her next start, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, before winning the Scottsdale.

"She was so relaxed," said rider Tony Farina. "Very smooth trip. When I said go, she did. Mr. Hines had her in peak condition."

Advance Deposit Wagering Legislation Introduced
3/7/2006 3:14:30 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2006 

On January 31, Senator Robert Blendu introduced SB 1476 to legalize advance deposit wagering, or account wagering, in Arizona on behalf of racing industry stakeholders. On the same date, Senate President Ken Bennett introduced additional favorable racing legislation in the form of SB 1742. The bills are crafted to create additional revenue from pari-mutuel wagering in the absence of alternative forms of gaming such as slot machines.

SB 1476 is being merged into SB 1472. The key elements of the legislation are the same as were introduced last session in SB 1474, which was passed by the House and Senate but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Janet Napolitano.

Another bill, SB 1251, a strike-everything bill, now has language that could possibly double the amount of breeders’ awards and county fair funds.

Anyone wishing to keep abreast of these bills may do so by contacting the Arizona HBPA office or by tracking them online through the website of the Arizona State Legislature, If these bills are to pass and be signed by the governor, we will need the support of horsemen throughout the state. Contact your senators and representatives and voice your support.

Election Update
3/7/2006 3:11:28 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2006 

The General Nominating Meeting for our upcoming election for president and Board of Directors was held on Saturday, February 11. There were five nominations for president and 20 nominations for directors. Nominees will need to accept their nomination to participate in the election.

Ballots will be mailed to members – along with candidate biographies and policy statements – in March, and votes will be counted on April 18. The new president and directors will take office on April 25.

If you do not receive a ballot in the mail, please contact the Arizona HBPA office at (602) 942-3336.

Turf Paradise track report
2/25/2006 7:06:45 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 2/22/06

King Justin showed speed is his game last Friday, when he set a track record for 4 1/2 furlongs here. A 5-year-old Arizona-bred trained by Ralph Andersen, King Justin sizzled early under Joel Campbell and just kept going, hitting the wire in 50.38 seconds. He broke the old record of 50.40 set by Kathryn's Doll in 1967 and Jazz Hot in 1995.

"On the lead is where he likes to be," said Campbell. "And when he's there, he's awfully fast."

King Justin finished a length clear of Just See James, with Flying Supercon in third. King Justin paid $10.40 for the victory and now has nine wins from 20 starts.

Keagan Outjumps Sky Diving at Turf Paradise
2/12/2006 2:03:56 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Date Posted: 2/11/2006 10:13:28 PM Last Updated: 2/12/2006 6:23:11 AM

Keagan, ridden by Scott Stevens, collared the 3-5 choice Sky Diving near the sixteenth pole and drove to a one-length victory in the $75,000 Turf Paradise Derby for 3-year-olds Saturday in Phoenix.

Trained by Eric Kruljac, part owner of the Washington-bred son of Basket Weave along with Gary Olson, Randy Bafus, and Gary Stevenson, Keagan went off at odds of 10-1. The bay colt, a $26,000 yearling purchase who is not nominated for the Triple Crown, won in a time of 1:43 4/5 for the 1 1/16-mile distance.

The race was expected to be a prep on the Triple Crown trail for Sky Diving, a $310,000 son of Aptitude owned by B. Wayne Hughes. Bob Baffert trains the dark bay colt who broke his maiden by 14 lengths at Bay Meadows Jan. 25.

In his first start against winners, Sky Diving forced the pace for jockey Tony Farina, who rode the colt for the first time, before opening up a clear advantage on the final turn. But Keagan wound up his run while wide on the turn and soon headed the favorite. The two battled through the stretch before Keagan drew away late. It was 7 1/2 lengths back to the third-place finisher, 49-1 shot Soft Seventeen.

Keagan, was coming off a fifth-place finish in Turf Paradise's Rattlesnake Jan. 22, his first attempt at a route of ground after seven sprint races. Keagan won the 6 1/2-furlong Arizona Juvenile Dec. 26. Overall, he owns a 3-2-2 record in nine starts with earnings of $110,199.

The winner, bred by Mr. and Mrs. William T. Griffin, paid $23, $6.20, and $4.40. Sky Diving returned $3 and $2.80. Soft Seventeen was $6.40 to show.

2006 Live Meet Racing Dates
12/15/2005 11:51:10 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2005 

Turf Paradise-Phoenix: September 29, 2005 through May 21, 2006

Rillito Park-Tucson: January 21 through March 5, 2006

Greenlee Co. Fair-Duncan: March 11, 12, 18, 19, 2006

Graham Co. Fair-Safford: March 25, 26, April 1, 2, 2006

Cochise Co. Fair-Douglas: April 8, 9, 22, 23, 2006

Santa Cruz Co. Fair-Sonoita: April 29, 30, May 6, 7, 2006

Mohave Co. Fair-Kingman: May 13, 14, 20, 21, 2006

Yavapai Downs-Prescott Valley: May 27 through September 5, 2006

Election Notice
12/15/2005 11:50:18 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2005 

It's that time of year again – the Arizona HBPA will hold an election in the spring of 2006 for president, five (5) owner directors, and five (5) trainer or owner-trainer directors to serve for two-year terms. If you are interested in having a hand in shaping the future of Arizona racing and are willing to work toward improving our position as owners and trainers, please consider running for an elected position with the Arizona HBPA.

To serve as a director, a member has to meet the following requirements: 1) has been in good standing in the association for at least 50% of the commercial racing season in Arizona during the year immediately preceding his/her nomination, 2) has participated in at least 50% of the commercial racing season in Arizona during the year immediately preceding his/her nomination, and 3) has started a horse or horses a minimum of five (5) times at commercial meets in Arizona in the year immediately preceding the date of his/her nomination.

To serve as president, a member must meet the following requirements: 1) has been in good standing in the association for at least 50% of the commercial racing season in Arizona during each of the two (2) years immediately preceding his/her nomination, 2) has participated in at least 50% of the commercial racing season in Arizona during each of the two (2) years immediately preceding his/her nomination, 3) has been licensed as an owner or trainer or owner-trainer in Arizona during each of the two (2) years immediately preceding his/her nomination, and 4) has started a horse or horses a minimum of five (5) times at commercial meets in Arizona during each of the two (2) years immediately preceding his/her nomination.

Should a member be nominated as a director or president who is not eligible under the above stated conditions, such member may ask for a waiver from the Board of Directors allowing him to participate in the election.

Within the next month, a mailer will be sent giving notice of the date of the general nominating meeting and detailing the nomination and election process. You may always call the Arizona HBPA office at (602) 942-3336 with questions.

Turf Paradise Celebrates 50 Years
12/15/2005 11:49:02 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2005 

With the beginning of its current meet on September 30, Turf Paradise officially marked its 50th anniversary of racing. The racetrack has a long and storied history.

In 1954, Phoenix businessman Walter Cluer purchased 1,400 acres of barren desert at what is now Bell Road and 19th Avenue. Cluer, a successful millwork founder and manufacturer, was also a horse owner. Although Cluer’s education consisted only of an eighth grade diploma, he had a passion to make a personal dream a reality: building a first-class racetrack in Phoenix.

There were more than a few locals who thought Cluer’s ambitious pronouncement was ill-timed and doomed to failure. After all, the property was 25 miles from the hustle and bustle of burgeoning metropolis of downtown Phoenix, and the only way to get there was via a few badly maintained dirt roads. But like any man on a mission, Cluer was not to be dissuaded by the naysayers. On January 7, 1956, Turf Paradise opened its doors, and Phoenicians responded by filling every seat and standing shoulder-to-shoulder to welcome pari-mutuel racing to Arizona and the Valley’s first sports franchise.

Cluer remained as head of the track for nearly 25 years. Then, in 1980, Herb Owens took over, and Turf Paradise entered into its renovation phase. The Clubhouse was enlarged, and an elegant Turf Club with a penthouse-style Directors’ Suite and outdoor patio were added. Racing wise, the track constructed a seven-furlong infield turf course with a one mile and one-eighth chute.

In 1989, Turf Paradise’s third owner, Robert Walker, purchased and guided the track into yet another new territory: off-track betting (OTB). Walker, of Scottsdale, had made his fortune with an aerospace company he had founded and sold. Walker’s formula was the right approach at the right time as he retired the track’s outstanding debt and declared the first-ever dividend for Turf Paradise stockholders. In addition, Walker and a consortium of horse racing interests successfully lobbied the Arizona legislature to legalize off-track betting. The in-state OTB network is perhaps Walker’s greatest contribution to the track and Arizona’s racing industry. What started out as a single OTB site in little Cave Creek (population 4,000) in 1991 has now blossomed into over 45 in-state OTBs and over 900 out-of-state locales, located in six different countries.

Turf Paradise took on a corporate face in 1994, when the track was purchased in a stock acquisition by California-based Hollywood Park, under the chairmanship of R.D. Hubbard. Despite intense competition from multiple Native American in-state casino gaming interests, Turf Paradise continued to flourish and achieve record mutuel handle numbers.

The new millennium provided Turf Paradise with a new owner in Jerry Simms. The self-made multi-millionaire purchased Turf Paradise on June 16, 2000 for $53 million. Mixing business acumen and savvy entrepreneurship, Simms developed modest investments in automobile dealerships, residential and commercial real estate ventures and banking in southern California, into a fortune.

Simms immediately set out a $5 million renovation plan designed to enhance the racing experience with a quality dining and entertainment ambience. Both the Clubhouse and Turf Club were completely renovated and re-styled to elegant and comfortable décor. Two racebook-style betting carrels of 80 private terminals each were added, one in the Clubhouse and the other adjacent to the Turf Club.

In addition, Simms had the main track and turf course renovated. Then, in the summer of 2003, Simms had a $125,000 equine swimming pool built in the stable area of the racetrack. The 30’ x 60’ pool is state of the art horse therapy for the over 2,200 Thoroughbreds stabled on the backside. Containing over 140,000 gallons of water and 12’ deep, the pool accommodates up to six horses at a time. The pool had an immediate effect, not only on equine health, but on field size.

Simms ushered his track into 2004 on healthy financial footing. Purchasing property at the busy 19th Avenue and Bell Road intersection adjacent to the racetrack, Simms made astute use of land for commercial development while enhancing the racing operation.

Turf Paradise track report
11/3/2005 2:53:29 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 11/2/2005

Local owner Dennis Weir had himself quite a weekend. The 12-time leading owner at Turf Paradise took down both weekend stakes, capturing the $40,000 Saguaro on Saturday with Scottsbluff and the $23,700 Zip Pocket on Sunday with Moore's Bridge.

Scottsbluff has emerged as a top 3-year-old sprinter for Weir and trainer Dan Morgan. Under leading rider Miguel Hernandez, Scottsbluff scored an easy 3 1/2-length win, covering six furlongs in 1:08.76. Moore's Bridge, ridden by Glen Corbett and trained by Molly Pearson, stalked the pace in the Zip Pocket, took over in midstretch, and held gamely to win by a half-length, getting the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.55.

* A record daily handle was established on Breeders' Cup Day as more than $2.8 million was bet on live racing and simulcasts. That was a hefty jump from last year's $2.3 million. On the Breeders' Cup races alone, handle was up more than $180,000 compared to last year.

* The Pima County Board of Supervisors recently approved emergency funds to repair the grandstand at Rillito Park near Tucson, Ariz., ensuring that the yearly meet can be held there this winter.

The board voted unanimously for a $225,000 allocation for limited repairs to the grandstand, which should keep the structure safe for another several years. It will allow the Pima Horseman's Association to hold its annual three-month winter race meet that starts in January.

The track was built in the 1940's as a venue for Quarter Horse racing and other events.

Track Ushers in its 50th Season of Racing - AZ
9/29/2005 2:51:33 PM  -  Daily Racing Form 

Posted: 9/28/2005

PHOENIX - Turf Paradise opens for its 50th season Friday, and for management here there is as much reason to look ahead as there is to look back.

"We're coming off a successful season and looking forward to celebrating our historic 50th year of racing," said track owner Jerry Simms.

The track, inaugurated by local businessman Walter Cluer in 1956, will run 166 days through May 21, 2006, featuring 46 stakes with a combined purse value of more than $2 million. Live racing will be conducted five days a week, Friday through Tuesday, with first post at 12:25 p.m. Mountain Standard. There will be a number of special Wednesday programs as well. Multiple-track, full-card simulcasting will take place seven days a week, with early-bird wagering beginning at 9 a.m.

The highlight of the meet figures to be Super Saturday on Feb. 11, which features the $75,000 Turf Paradise Handicap, $75,000 Turf Paradise Derby, and $75,000 Arizona Oaks. Celebrating their 50th renewals will be the $40,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile (formerly the Paradise Mile), Jan. 7; the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup, March 18; and the traditional closing-day feature, the $50,000 Hasta La Vista Handicap, May 21. On Dec. 10 and 11, the track plays hosts to a qualifying tournament for both the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championships and the Coast Casinos Finals.

Among the track's ongoing projects is the development of new off-track betting facilities, particularly as the population continues to grow in the Phoenix area. "The people who live in Gilbert or Surprise or Goodyear can't really be expected to get here to the track, so we'll be opening more OTB sites," Simms said. "As things stand now, we're available in over 1,200 places and seven countries."

Another project is the development of frontage property. On land that once housed a huge parking lot, ground will soon be broken for a Wal-Mart and Sam's Club shopping complex, which will feature a new four-lane entry way into the track, Simms said.

On the wagering front, the track will offer 10-cent superfectas and 50-cent pick fours.

There has been a change at the helm for the new racing season. Eugene Joyce comes in for his first season as general manager. Joyce, 46, comes to Turf Paradise from Lone Star Park, where he served as assistant general manager.

The main track has undergone a face lift. Track superintendent Terry Brown and his crew removed 3,000 tons of old material and added an equal amount of deep-root sand, plus 300 cubic yards of an organic mix of wood shavings and bark.

"The organic material will give the track body and bounce," said Brown.

The main track is a challenge during the rainy winter season because of Arizona's high silt-clay soil content. Brown said the renovation will bring the soil into balance - 92 percent sand and organic matter and 8 percent silt-clay.

Many familiar names are back. Among the trainers returning are Troy Bainum, winner of the title last season, along with Eric Kruljac, Dan McFarlane, Don Mills, Molly Pearson, Keith Bennett, Bart Hone, Jim Hill, Michael Lenzini, Kevin Lewis, Jerry Atkin, Joe Toye, Doug Oliver, Jon Zimmerman, and Justin Evans.

Last season's leading jockey, Wilson Dieguez, is ready to defend his title against Scott Stevens, Jorge Carreno, Leslie Mawing, Miguel Hernandez, Alberto Higuera, Steve Gomez, and Joel Campbell.

ADOR creating Drug-Free Zones
8/26/2005 9:34:42 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2005 

Arizona Department of Racing (ADOR) Director Geoffrey Gonsher has developed a new human drug abuse policy and is committed to creating “drug free zones” encompassing the backstretch of each track, similar to those seen on school campuses. 

Turf Paradise is the first “drug free zone” to be designated.  When horsemen return to Turf Paradise in September, they will see new signage and encounter tighter stable area security, including the required display of badges (licenses).  

ADOR will hold meetings in the Turf Paradise stable area to inform and educate licensees about the new policies.  Representatives from the Arizona HBPA, jockeys, the Racetrack Chaplaincy, AQRA, Turf Paradise, and Yavapai Downs were invited to work with the ADOR on this issue.

Turf Paradise to Celebrate Its 50th Season
8/26/2005 9:33:38 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2005 

When the Turf Paradise meet commences on September 30, the track will be celebrating its 50th season of racing. Turf Paradise has designed a special logo to commemorate its 50th anniversary; is planning displays for each patron entrance using old photos, newspaper clippings and advertising; will produce a video that will be shown on monitors at the track and off-track betting (OTB) locations; and has planned special 50th season-related promotions to be held throughout the season, which runs through May 21, 2006.

When construction of Turf Paradise began in 1955, the facility was on the far outskirts of the Valley of the Sun, surrounded by miles of desert in every direction. That is far from the case today.

Several trainers that occupied stalls during that first season and ran horses on opening day in January of 1956 are still participating in racing at Turf Paradise today.

Joyce Hired as Turf Paradise General Manager
8/26/2005 9:32:43 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2005 

Eugene T. Joyce has been hired by Turf Paradise as the track’s general manager, replacing Randy Fozzard, who has taken a position with the newly constructed Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Joyce, who has been involved in racing since 1978, leaves a position as assistant general manager of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie to join Turf Paradise.

“I am looking forward to coming to Arizona, seeing many familiar faces, meeting new people, and taking on the challenge of running a first class facility like Turf Paradise,” commented Joyce.  

Joyce was general manager at Wyoming Downs from 1991 through 1998 and SunRay Park and Casino in 1999 prior to joining Lone Star Park in 2001 as director of product development.  He also worked at Arlington Park and served as director of player development and interim general manager at Remington Park.  He has been a racing committee member and past chairman of the graded stakes sub-committee for the AQHA.

A graduate of Marquette University, Joyce has held positions outside of the racing industry with Host Communications, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Madison Square Garden Network, and the City of Evanston, Wyoming.

New Arizona Racing Commissioners
6/7/2005 7:10:51 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2005 

Governor Janet Napolitano has appointed two new members to the Arizona Racing Commission – Erin Owens-Hall and James N. “Jim” Chilcoat, Sr. Both appointments have received Senate confirmation.

Erin Owens-Hall will serve as the horse/harness racing member of the Arizona Racing Commission, replacing Michael Napier, whose term expired in January. Erin has deep roots and is well respected in Arizona’s racing community. She has worn many hats in the industry, including racing official, racing secretary, steward, and director of racing, while working at Turf Paradise, Prescott Downs, Canterbury Park, San Juan Downs, and Columbus Racetrack.

Erin is also the daughter of leading Arizona breeder Richard Owens, owner of Triple AAA Ranch. More recently, she has been associated with the University of Phoenix, earning her Masters Degree in Business Administration while employed by the university as director of enrollment and enrollment manager.

James N. “Jim” Chilcoat, Sr. has been appointed to serve as a public member of the Commission. Chilcoat served 30 years with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel and position of Assistant Director, Criminal Justice and Support Bureau. Following his service with DPS, Chilcoat worked for two years as an administrator with the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Summer Race Dates
6/7/2005 7:09:45 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2005 

Yavapai Downs at Prescott Valley: May 28 – September 7, 2005, with live racing Saturdays through Tuesdays

Coconino County Fair, Fort Tuthill, Flagstaff: July 1-4, 2005

Race Dates
3/12/2005 2:30:03 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2005 

The current Turf Paradise meet runs until May 22, with live racing on Fridays through Tuesdays through April and Fridays through Sundays in May.

Yavapai Downs at Prescott Valley opens it summer race meet on Saturday, May 28, running Saturdays through Tuesdays through September 6. Stall applications are due by April 15.

The Arizona county fairs schedule for 2005 is as follows:

Cochise County Fair @ Douglas – April 9, 10, 16, 17
Graham County Fair @ Safford – April 2, 3, 9, 10
Graham County Fair @ Turf Paradise – March 26
Greenlee County Fair @ Duncan – March 12, 13, 19, 20
Mohave County Fair @ Kingman – May 14, 15, 21, 22
Pima County Fair @ Rillito – Jan. 22, 23, 29, 30
Santa Cruz County Fair @ Sonoita – April 30, May 1, 7, 8
Yuma County Fair @ Yavapai Downs – May 28, 29, 30, 31

Legislative Dinner Draws Interest
3/12/2005 2:28:16 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2005 

The third annual Legislative Dinner, hosted by the Arizona Counties Racing Association and supported by the Arizona HBPA and other industry stakeholders, was held on the evening of February 2 at La Canasta restaurant, just north of the State Capitol. A few dozen legislators attended, including some freshmen.

The dinner attendees were treated to a delicious Mexican buffet and had the opportunity to hear about the racing and breeding industry in Arizona and meet racing participants. In attendance from the Arizona HBPA board were President Kevin Eikleberry, Vice President Lloyd Yother, Secretary-Treasurer Sarah Struck, Directors Jack Chase and Larry Wells, and Alternate Tom Bartol.

Purses Increased at Turf Paradise
3/12/2005 2:27:20 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2005 

Despite an unusually wet winter that caused the loss of several race days, handle remained strong and resulted in a purse increase on February 4. Turf Paradise raised purses 5% for the entire race meet that began in October. A retro-payment was credited to owners’ accounts for races prior to February 4.

Race Dates for 2005
12/14/2004 5:42:57 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2004 

In addition to the current meeting at Turf Paradise, the following racing dates have already been approved for 2005:

Cochise County Fair – April 9, 10, 16, 17, 2005
Graham County Fair – March 26, 27, April 2, 3, 2005
Greenlee County Fair – March 12, 13, 19, 20, 2005
Mohave County Fair – May 14, 15, 21, 22, 2005
Pima County Fair – January 22, 23, 29, 30, 2005
Santa Cruz County Fair – April 30, May 1, 7, 8, 2005

Turf Paradise Meet Underway
12/14/2004 5:41:38 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2004 

Turf Paradise began its current meet on October 1, 2004. Racing is being conducted five days a week through May 22, 2005.

Legislative/Governmental Affairs Update
9/11/2004 6:08:51 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2004 

Thanks to the efforts of Arizona Department of Racing Director Geoffrey Gonsher, industry stakeholders had the opportunity in July to meet with Governor Janet Napolitano’s chief counsel, Tim Nelson, to discuss issues - especially state budgetary issues - impacting the state and racing industry. Arizona HBPA members were represented by President Kevin Eikleberry, Vice-President Lloyd Yother, Secretary-Treasurer Sarah Struck, and Arizona HBPA Lobbyist Henry Evans.

Eikleberry and Yother spoke clearly that the racing and breeding industry in Arizona is in trouble, unable to keep owners and horses from leaving for surrounding states where casino gaming supplements purses. They pointed out the auxiliary businesses that will be adversely affected by the loss of the horse racing industry in Arizona.

Legalizing account wagering was discussed as a possible new revenue stream for tracks, horsemen’s purses, and to offset the state’s cost of regulation. While the industry’s problems were not solved, it was good to be able to have direct communication with the Governor’s office. Hopefully, this meeting is the start of an improved line of communication.

Henry Evans is preparing a list of racing-friendly legislators, with information on how to contribute to them, that will be available to interested members. You can lend your support through monetary contributions or by speaking with your representatives, educating them about our industry, and asking for their support. For information on identifying your representative or legislatives issues, contact the Arizona HBPA at (602) 942-3336.

Turf Paradise Notes
9/11/2004 6:06:46 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2004 

On the heels of the Yavapai Downs meet, Turf Paradise begins racing on October 1, 2004, running five days a week through May 22, 2005. Horsemen and patrons will be pleased with the completed renovation of the turf course.

On December 11, the Arizona HBPA and Turf Paradise will host a new owner seminar in conjunction with the TOBA. Look for updates in the coming months.

Yavapai Downs Meet on Record Pace
9/11/2004 6:05:36 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2004 

If wagering holds through the remainder of the meet, Yavapai Downs will post a record handle for summer racing in Arizona when the meet concludes over Labor Day. Figures through August 2 show an increase of 9.5% in on-track handle and 12% increase in total in-state handle. Out of state handle is down 2% from last year, resulting in an overall increase in handle of 10%, with one day of wagering lost from an outage in Prescott Valley.

There are no clear cut leaders in the chase for leading owner, trainer and jockey titles, with the greatest margin being only three wins. Horsemen are to be thanked for providing the fuller fields that generate greater wagering.

New Board of Directors Seated
6/4/2004 2:42:16 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2004 

The results of the biannual election of president and directors are: Kevin Eikleberry continues as president; owner directors are Jack Chase, Tom Metzen, Linda Parker and Lloyd Yother; and trainer/owner-trainer directors are Darrell Alvey, Debi Ferguson, Bart Hone, Ray Odom and Larry Wells. Curt Ferguson and Tom Bartol are alternates.

Lloyd Yother was elected by the board at its first meeting on May 5 to serve as vice president. The members serve for two years.

Horse Rescue and Adoption Fund Kicks Off
6/4/2004 2:41:29 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2004 

Through the work of a committee that was formed by Arizona Racing Commissioner Michael Napier in 2003 to explore the options for the retirement of racehorses in Arizona, a horse rescue and adoption fund has been created. The stated purpose of the fund is to provide for a safe and dignified retirement for racehorses in Arizona by facilitating, financially or otherwise, the rehabilitation and adoption of racehorses

The objective of the fund is to provide financial assistance for rehabilitation and adoption of injured or retired racehorses. The fund will accomplish its objectives initially by awarding grants to established racehorse rehabilitation and adoption programs where the fund will place former owner-relinquished racehorses.

This new fund kicked off in earnest during the Turf Paradise meet. Beginning on April 23, horsemen have been able to make a $1.00 per start voluntary contribution to a yet-to-be named charitable fund. In addition, Turf Paradise has generously made a $5,000 contribution to the fund.

In addition to voluntary per-start and one-time donations, the new horse rescue and adoption fund recently got additional funding through the Arizona legislature. The Governor just signed an industry-supported bill that places a surcharge on fines levied at the racetrack to be put toward racehorse adoption programs.

Successful Promotion
6/4/2004 2:40:35 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2004 

On April 24, one lucky fan at Turf Paradise won a 2004 Chevrolet Colorado courtesy of the Arizona HBPA. Designed to introduce new people to the track and to horse racing, the promotion was sponsored by the Arizona HBPA in conjunction with Midway Chevrolet, KNIX radio and Turf Paradise.

Patterned after the draw for Kentucky Derby post positions, each of 12 finalists selected a horse from the 12-horse field in the day's seventh race. The finalist with the number of the official winning horse won the truck.

The contest was held the same day as the Arizona Thoroughbred Festival, on which the whole card showcased Arizona-bred horses. The promotion was deemed successful based on the significantly increased attendance and handle over the same day last year, as well as the increased food and beverage sales.

Arizona horsemen start recovery fund for horses
5/26/2004 2:05:16 PM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

Turf Paradise Race Course and Arizona horsemen have started "Second Call," a recovery fund set aside for the care, rehabilitation, and retraining of racehorses who are injured or recently retired from racing. Turf Paradise in Phoenix provided $5,000 in seed money, and Second Call will raise additional funds through donations and a voluntary program whereby owners can pay a $1 per start fee for horses they race in Arizona.

Michael Napier, chairman of the Arizona State Racing Commission, conceived the idea of Second Call, and other interested entities include the Arizona Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse Breeders’ Association, Arizona Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and Yavapai Downs.

Turf Paradise Posts Across-the-Board Gains
5/18/2004 2:23:54 PM  -  Blood-Horse 

Turf Paradise recorded its best race meet in 48 years by posting gains in both on and off track handle and attendance figures as the 167-day live race meet came to a close May 16 at the Phoenix, Arizona, track. Both on and off track attendance showed increases. On track attendance rose 4%, 340,766 to 354,379; OTB attendance 6%, 413,329 to 438,868. Combined attendance was up 6%, 754,095 to 793,247.

"It was a very good season," said Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms, who purchased the track in 2000. "The indicators tell us that horse racing is alive, well and growing in Arizona."

All sources of handle also reflected increases. On track wagering rose 2%, $49,467,148 to $50,697,546. In state OTB jumped 6%, from $78,579,900 to $83,562,429, for a combined 5% increase in in-state handle, from $128,259,975 to a record $134,259,975.

Out of state handle followed in-state gains by increasing 4%, from $158,990,966 to $165,799,435. All sources handle rose 5% to $300,059,410 compared to previous year's $287,038,014.

Copyright © 2004 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Age Restriction on Maidens to be Removed (Six-Year-Olds and Up Eligible to Run)
3/13/2004 11:08:28 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2004 

Following more than a year of meetings and correspondence, a package of 15 Arizona Department of Racing (ADOR) rule revisions brought forth by your HBPA representatives and other industry stakeholders was approved by the Governor's Regulatory Review Committee on February 3, 2004. Becoming effective in early April, 60 days after being approved, the revisions cover a broad spectrum from eliminating antiquated rules relating to gender/spousal issues, extending the time for tattooing and owner licensing from before entry to before starting, establishing a one-year license for grooms, removing the 25% price jump on claimed winners, modifying the work rule at commercial meets to require one work in 45 days for a horse that has not started, among others. Of particular interest to horsemen was the proposal to remove the age restriction on maidens at commercial race meets. The HBPA will make copies of the new rules available to horsemen when they are published.

In related news, an Ad Hoc Task Force has been appointed by ADOR Director Geoffrey Gonsher and assigned to comprehensively review and rewrite the entire rule book. Chairperson Rita Fresquez has divided the group into several subcommittees including licensing, fines and penalties, medication, simulcasting, and county fair racing. The HBPA has representatives on every committee who have been attending the meetings regularly.

RaceHorse Retirement Committee
3/13/2004 11:07:20 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2004 

As reported in the last issue of The Horsemen's Journal, a committee to explore options for the retirement of racehorses was formed by Arizona Racing Commissioner (now Commission Chairman) Michael Napier. Committee members are committed to the welfare of the equine athletes that give us so much pleasure, and upon whom many of our livelihoods depend, when their racing careers come to an end.

The as-yet-unnamed foundation will be operated under the auspices of a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. The initial focus will be to award grants to established programs existing to provide aftercare for owner-relinquished racehorses that have suffered career ending injuries on the track. The committee is preparing to formally ask the Arizona HBPA directors to approve a $1.00 per start voluntary charitable contribution be withheld from horsemen's accounts. This issue has been brought to the membership at two HBPA general meetings, where it has received overwhelming support each time.

Other industry participants including the tracks, jockeys, vets, farriers, and feed vendors will also be called upon to contribute. Legislation has been introduced that, if passed, will provide another revenue stream for the program. HB 2591 calls for a surcharge to be collected by the Commission on civil penalties assessed in connection with horse racing and deposited into a retired racehorse adoption fund.

Election Update
3/13/2004 11:06:14 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2004 

This year, the membership of the Arizona HBPA will elect a president and 10 directors to serve two-year terms. Ballots will be mailed to the last known address of each member during the first two weeks in March and must be received back at the HBPA office by April 13, 2004. 

The general nominating meeting was held on February 7. A written notice of the meeting was mailed to each member in mid-January. If you did not receive a notice of that meeting by mail or know of another member who did not receive a notice in the mail, please contact the Arizona HBPA office at (602) 942-3336 to update addresses.

Committee Formed to Examine Options for Racehorse Retirement
11/30/2003 12:17:56 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2003 

In early November, Arizona HBPA Secretary-Treasurer Sarah Struck attended the very informative first meeting of a committee formed to examine the options currently available and the possible future development of a local network for racehorse retirement. Formed and chaired by Arizona Racing Commissioner Michael Napier, other members who volunteered to serve on the committee include owner/breeder Pam Eikleberry, Yavapai Downs General Manager Jim Grundy, Turf Paradise attorney John Mangum, and Struck.

Napier formed the committee because he believes that we have a responsibility to the horses and the industry to take care of our retired racehorses. He was surprised to find out that in Arizona, it is the individual trainers and owners who find homes for their horses coming off the track, often just by networking. He was also surprised that there is not a more structured method, or even an agency, devoted to finding those horses new homes.

Through its discussions, the committee decided that any formal organization created should be a private non-profit instead of part of a government agency. In order to go that route, funding would be required, and a detailed discussion about possible sources of funding for such an organization followed. The committee agreed that the largest part of the funding mechanism needs to be stable, such as grants. Voluntary donations from all segments of the Arizona horse racing industry will also be sought.

The committee wants to look into the possible future development of a local network of farms, ranches, and foster homes willing to take horses, possibly supplying feed and care. The committee feels it will be important to develop some kind of formal oversight and regulation guidelines to insure that the horses are taken care of properly wherever they are placed.

In the meantime, the committee discussed relatively inexpensive ways to get started. One idea was to start off by providing transportation of horses to established retirement farms or second career programs. The committee will continue to meet to determine what is feasible and examine ways to begin implementing these ideas.

Arizona HBPA members should expect to hear more about this issue in the near future, and they will likely be asked to consider making some form of contribution to the project. If any members have suggestions or want to help, contact the Arizona HBPA at (602) 942-3336.

Horsemen’s Christmas Holiday Dinner
11/30/2003 12:15:49 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2003 

Owners, trainers and backstretch personnel will again be treated to a delicious holiday meal of roast turkey and ham with all the trimmings. Co-hosted by Turf Paradise and the Arizona HBPA, the dinner will be served on December 18th in the Turf Club Terrace from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

2004 Election Schedule
11/30/2003 12:14:59 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2003 

It is almost that time again - time for the Arizona HBPA election for president and ten directors (five owners and five trainers or owner/trainers) to represent the membership for the next two years. Election and nominating committees will be appointed by the Board of Directors in December.

If you are interested in volunteering for either committee please, contact the HBPA office. If you would like to serve as an officer or director, eligibility requirements are available in the HBPA office and will be mailed in January with a notification of the Nominating Meeting.

Below is the tentative schedule of election activities:
Date - Event
February 7 - General Nominating Meeting at Turf Paradise Race Course
February 29 - March 14 - Ballots and candidate information mailed to members
April 13 - Ballots counted

2003-2004 Racing Dates
11/30/2003 12:11:56 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Winter 2003 

The following are the scheduled racing dates in Arizona for 2003-2004:

Turf Paradise at Phoenix - September 26, 2003 - May 16, 2004
La Paz Co. Fair at Turf Paradise - January 10, 11, 17, 18, 2004
Maricopa Co. Fair at Turf Paradise - January 24, 25, 31, February 1, 2004
Pima Co. Fair at Rillito Park, Tucson - January 17, 18, 24, 25, 2004
Rillito Park at Tucson - January 17 - February 29, 2004
Pinal Co. Fair at Turf Paradise - February 7, 8, 14, 15, 2004
Navajo Co. Fair at Turf Paradise - March 13, 14, 20, 21, 2004
Greenlee Co. Fair at Duncan - March 13, 14, 20, 21, 2004
Graham Co. Fair at Safford - March 27, 28, April 3, 4, 2004
Cochise co. Fair at Douglas - April 10, 11, 17, 18, 2004
Santa Cruz Co Fair at Sonoita - April 24, 25, May 1, 2, 2004
Mohave Co. Fair at Kingman - May 8, 9, 15, 16, 2004
Yuma Co. Fair at Yavapai Downs - May 29, 30, 31, June 1, 2004
Yavapai Downs at Prescott Valley - May 29 - September 7, 2004

Arizona commission renews Turf Paradise license
11/18/2003 3:38:37 PM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

The Arizona Racing Commission unanimously renewed T. P. Racing’s license so that it can operate races and simulcasting at Turf Paradise in Phoenix through May 2006.

As a part of the seven-month renewal process, the commission closely examined the majority shareholder of T. P. Racing, Jerry Simms, who purchased the track in 2000 for $53-million. Controversy has surrounded Simms’s business and political dealings from the 1980s, but he has been licensed twice in Arizona.

"From all accounts, this was the most intensive and extensive administrative and substantive permit application review ever conducted by the Department of Racing," Director Geoffrey Gonsher wrote in a memo to commissioners, the Arizona Republic reports.

"The outcome is good for racing and good for Turf Paradise," Simms’s attorney, Gerald Alston, said. "We’re just glad it’s done. I trust that all the other [pari-mutuel] permitees [in Arizona] will be equally examined."

Simms was referring to a complaint he made in May that the commission was asking too much information of his client for a renewal, saying that the process was more like a new application than a renewal.

"The rules are the rules," Commission Chairman Burton Kruglick said. "We are really happy it’s come to a positive decision."

2003-2004 Racing Dates
10/8/2003 11:29:23 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2003 

The following are the scheduled racing dates in Arizona for 2003-2004:

Turf Paradise at Phoenix - Sept. 26, 2003 - May 16, 2004
Apache Co. Fair at St. Johns - Sept. 13, 14, 20, 21, 2003
Gila Co. Fair at Globe - Sept. 27, 28, Oct. 4, 5, 2003
La Paz Co. Fair at Turf Paradise - Jan. 10, 11, 17, 18, 2004
Maricopa C. Fair at Turf Paradise - Jan. 24, 25, 31, Feb.1, 2004
Pima Co. Fair at Rillito Park, Tucson - Jan. 17, 18, 24, 25, 2004
Rillito Park at Tucson - Jan. 17 - Feb. 29, 2004
Pinal Co. Fair at Turf Paradise - Feb. 7, 8, 14, 15, 2004
Navajo Co. Fair at Turf Paradise - March 13, 14, 20, 21, 2004
Greenlee Co. Fair at Duncan - March 13, 14, 20, 21, 2004
Graham Co. Fair at Safford - March 27, 28, April 3, 4, 2004
Cochise co. Fair at Douglas - April 10, 11, 17, 18, 2004
Santa Cruz Co Fair at Sonoita - April 24, 25, May 1, 2, 2004
Mohave Co. Fair at Kingman - May 8, 9, 15, 16, 2004
Yuma Co. Fair at Yavapai Downs - May 29, 30, 31, June 1, 2004
Yavapai Downs at Prescott Valley - May 29 - Sept. 7, 2004

Turf Paradise Set to Open 47th Season
10/8/2003 11:27:58 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2003 

Horsemen are coming “down the hill” from Yavapai Downs and returning from summer racing in Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota and California to be ready for Turf Paradise’s opening day on September 27. This year, horses can enjoy the swimming pool and joggers that were installed last spring in addition to galloping. Many horses stabled at the track and swam all summer.

Proposed Rule Change Update
10/8/2003 11:27:24 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2003 

The HBPA’s Rules Committee has met with the Arizona Department of Racing staff and industry stakeholders for the past year on several changes to the rules of racing that will be of benefit to horsemen. While the process was painfully slow, a package of 19 proposed changes were presented to the Arizona Racing Commission at its August meeting. Proposals that are approved by the Commission will then begin the formal process required to change the state administrative code. This process takes five to seven months.

The proposed rules are available for review in the HBPA office by anyone interested and include changes to the work rule, temporary licensing for owners, one-year occupational licenses for grooms, community property issues, and use of assistant trainers, among others.

In addition to the already proposed rules, Geoffrey Gonsher, director of the Arizona Department of Racing, has formed a task force to undertake a review of the whole rule book. While this seems a monumental task, it is long overdue. The HBPA will have representatives on the task force.

Horsemen Host Successful Promotion
10/8/2003 11:25:38 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Fall 2003 

Horsemen hosted a Fan Appreciation Day at Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley on Saturday, August 2. The clubhouse was full, and on-track handle was up 34%. Fans were treated to a good card, with two stakes slated and the middle legs of the Sprint and Distance Series. Drawings were held throughout the day for giveaways that included stays at the Golden Nugget in Laughlin, Nevada, theater passes to see “Seabiscuit,” a TV/VCR, cash prizes, auto services and lots more.

Great interest and enthusiasm was shown by the lucky fans who were chosen to go to the saddling paddock before each race to meet owners, trainers and jockeys. It was an experience that will hopefully bring them back to the track again.

While many people helped make this promotion a success, extra thanks to Jodi Davis, Loretta Brasher, Nikki Fopp, Michelle Huber and Wendy Hobson, who put in a long day.

Arizona tracks hope to thwart simulcasting by tribes
7/11/2003 7:38:18 AM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

Arizona racetrack officials appealed to casino regulators on Wednesday, contending that Indian tribes should not be allowed to operate off-track betting parlors.

Racing officials fear that tribes will seek simulcasting rights by negotiating an appeal to Proposition 202, a state gambling agreement passed last year by voters, the Arizona Republic reports.

"Indian gaming has practically ruined our industry," Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders Association President Frank Covello told the Arizona Racing Commission. "We totally, totally got to watch our backside."

Despite the racetrack concerns, Paul Bullis, director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, said that no Indian simulcast proposal is under consideration, although he conceded that he does not know if one will be submitted. Racing Commission Chairman Burton Kruglick asked that Bullis keep the racing industry apprised of any developments on the issue.

Proposition 202 allowed tribal casinos to operate more slot machines while shutting the pari-mutuel industry out of the slots business.

Steward Gerry Howard Killed in Auto Accident
6/11/2003 9:34:07 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2003 

On a sad note, Gerry Howard, 61, chief steward since 1989, was killed in an automobile accident on May 2. Gerry was a native of Prescott, Arizona, and became involved in racing in 1964 as an assistant starter at the old Prescott Downs. He worked in that capacity in six other states, including New Mexico and Colorado. Howard also worked as a tattooer and held other positions such as paddock judge, clerk of scales, clocker, starter and director of racing in various jurisdictions.

Chaplain Crisswell Has Successful First Meet at Turf Paradise
6/11/2003 9:33:18 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2003 

Chaplain Carl Crisswell of the RTCA was well received on the backside during his first season at Turf Paradise. He put a lot of miles on his boots. Carl will return to Arapahoe Park in Colorado for the summer, and Chaplain Ken and Sharon Swenson will again join us for the Yavapai Downs meet.

New Faces at Yavapai Downs
6/11/2003 9:32:26 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2003 

Yavapai Downs has a new racing secretary, John Everly. Additionally, Wally Burrington is the new stall superintendent. We look forward to having some new faces on the backside, as well.

Injuries and the lure of other tracks may result in a shortage of riders. However, we are expecting another good meet.

Jim Grundy Recovering From Heart Attack
6/11/2003 9:31:29 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2003 

Jim Grundy, general manager of Yavapai Downs at Prescott Valley, suffered a heart attack at the end of April. He is at home recovering, and a date for his return has not yet been scheduled. Everyone has pitched in at Yavapai, doing double duty in preparation for opening day on May 24. The meet runs through Labor Day.

Turf Paradise Meet Leaders
6/11/2003 9:28:24 PM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Summer 2003 

Turf Paradise wrapped up its meet on May 18. Congratulations are in order for the year-end leaders of the 2002-03 winter meet:

Dennis E. Weir, Leading Owner

Don Mills, Leading Trainer

Raul Hernandez, Leading Quarter Horse Trainer

E.A. “Steve” Gomez, Leading Jockey

Free Corona, Horse of the Meet and Top Turf Horse. Owner Karl Krieg/Trainer Kathy Schenk

First Snowbound, Two/Three Year-Old Filly. Owner Cross O Corp./Trainer George Wern

Siberland, Two/Three Year-Old Colt or Gelding. Owner Dennis Weir/Trainer Kevin Lewis

Aspen Hill, Three/Four Year-Old Filly. Owner Dennis Weir/Trainer Dan McFarlane

Grimm, Three/Four Year-Old Colt or Gelding. Owner J.Jay Kruljac or Molly Brown Stables LLC/Trainer Eric Kruljac

Knoll Lake, Older Mare and Top Arizona-bred. Owner Dennis Weir/Trainer Kevin Lewis

Play Good (Arg), Claimer of the Meet. Owner Stephen Zimmerman/Trainer Jon Zimmerman

Giovanetti, Top Sprinter. Owner Bernard Schiappa/Trainer Frank Monteleone

Turf Paradise gets 90-day license extension
5/16/2003 11:34:30 AM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

The Arizona Racing Commission has extended Turf Paradise’s license for 90 days while it continues to consider the Phoenix track’s application for renewal.

Turf Paradise’s license was to expire on May 31, but the extension that runs through August 29, allows the commission ample time to read 45,000 pages of documents regarding Turf Paradise’s application. Turf Paradise’s live meet ends on May 18, but it will continue to offer simulcast wagering.

Turf Paradise filed its application on April 29 and the commission has until May 29 to review all the materials before scheduling a hearing to decide the fate of the track. On Wednesday, the commission renewed the license of embattled Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms.

Arizona Escapes West Nile Virus in 2002; Vaccine Recommended
4/24/2003 10:03:49 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2003 

The Arizona Department of Health Services, which monitors the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV), considers Arizona “lucky” to have escaped with no local WNV cases in 2002. The Department suggests the virus can thrive in Arizona once it arrives. It is recommended that the vaccine, which is given in two doses, be administered five weeks before mosquito season begins. In Arizona, this is generally thought to run from May through October. Therefore, horses should receive their initial dose in March. The Department also suggests the reduction of the breeding grounds for mosquitoes is the first step in controlling the incidence of the disease.

Racing in Arizona
4/24/2003 10:03:16 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2003 

Historic Rillito Park in Tucson opened its 14-day meet on January 18, racing on weekends. Sponsored belt buckles by Montana Silversmiths are being presented to the winner of every race. Racing continues at Turf Paradise through May 18 and returns to Yavapai Downs at Prescott Valley on May 24 for the summer.

Equine Swimming Pool Debuts at Turf Paradise
4/24/2003 10:02:34 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2003 

The equine swimming pool being built by Turf Paradise is ready for inspection and should be in full operation by late February or early March. The pool area already has two jogging machines in operation. A large grass walking ring is planned to finish the project. According to Randy Fozzard, president and general manager of Turf Paradise, the pool and jogging machines will be open year-round, and Turf Paradise will provide stabling in the area as needed during the off-season.

Turf Paradise Purse Increase
4/24/2003 10:01:57 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2003 

In January horsemen received a 5% increase in purses at Turf Paradise retroactive to the beginning of the meet.

Bill In Senate To Amend Some Licensing Laws
4/24/2003 10:01:14 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2003 

The Arizona HBPA has HB 2038 in the State Legislature to amend some of the laws regarding licensing and allow for participation in the multi-state licensing compact. Lobbyist Henry Evans has been guiding the bill through the lawmaking process. Additionally, the HBPA committee members are working with Arizona Department of Racing and industry stakeholders on a number of rule changes to benefit horsemen.

Pleased To Co-Host NHBPA Winter Convention
4/24/2003 9:59:58 AM  -  The Horsemen''s Journal - Spring 2003 

Arizona was pleased to co-host the National HBPA winter convention with the Nebraska and Oklahoma HBPAs. Registrants received fleece pullovers and briefcases from Arizona that were filled with goodies from our co-hosts.

The record-breaking warm Phoenix weather was agreeable to all convention participants. Turf Paradise provided a hot time at the races! Even though the air-conditioning was on the blink, racegoers were treated to a delicious buffet prepared by Turf Paradise and a fun-filled afternoon of racing.

Economic impact of racing in Arizona touted by tracks
4/20/2003 5:10:57 PM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

Trying to convince state lawmakers that Arizona racing should not be further taxed and needs $2.4-million a year in state support for the Department of Racing, Turf Paradise and American Greyhound Racing funded a new report that shows racing’s impact on Arizona was worth $241.8-million in 2002.

The industry supported 5,900 jobs and generated $18.6-million in various taxes last year, the report states.

Governor Janet Napolitano has proposed using the $2.4-million from the general fund in other areas of the state budget and have the pari-mutuel industry cover its own cost of regulation.

"I truly believe that we’re a much more important piece of this economy than we’ve ever really been given credit for," Turf Paradise President Randy Fozzard told the Arizona Republic.

Napolitano’s spokeswoman Pati Urias said that the choice for state funding came down to either education or racing, and "the choice was obvious. Other states have commissions that fund themselves," Urias said. "Arizona is not the first to propose the idea."

Arizona House Speaker Jake Flake (R-Snowflake) does not support Napolitano’s proposal, preferring instead a Joint Legislative Budget Committee proposal that would keep the racing department’s funding in place.

Tim Hogan, who directed the study conducted by the Center for Business Research at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, noted that while racing is a major Arizona industry, it is not "exorbitantly profitable."

Arizona tracks lobbying to keep regulatory funding
3/14/2003 9:29:38 AM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

Turf Paradise in Phoenix has begun to fight Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano’s plan to eliminate the $2.4-million in funding the Arizona Department of Racing receives from the state.

Such a move would require the state’s pari-mutuel businesses, including greyhound tracks, to foot the bill of regulation, something they can ill afford, according to lobbyists.

"I don’t know that the racing industry can afford to be self-supporting," John Mangum, a lobbyist for Turf Paradise, told the Arizona Republic.

Mangum addressed the Arizona Racing Commission on Wednesday on the importance of regulation. Geoffrey Consher, the new acting director of the racing department, said he supports the governor’s plan.

"We have not discussed any compromises," Gonsher said after the commission meeting.

"They need to be aware that they could be placing in jeopardy a fairly significant tourist attraction," said Mangum, who noted that 21% of Turf Paradise’s attendees travel from other states and visit Turf Paradise.

The governor has proposed other means of making up the money, but the tracks have yet to agree to any of her terms.

"The industry opposes proposals to make up the governor’s proposed cuts through a share of wagers, unclaimed winning race tickets, and track license fees," said Gonsher, who conceded that the state’s racing industry is not as healthy as it once was. "A share of all three revenue sources could raise more than $3-million a year, which would help the racing department fill 12 vacant positions and improve its regulation."

Arizona commission agrees to renew racing license of Turf Paradise owner
11/14/2002 9:29:49 AM  -  Thoroughbred Times 

By a vote of 3-2, the Arizona Racing Commission agreed Wednesday to renew the racing license of Jerry Simms, allowing him to regain control in Turf Paradise.

Simms held a 53% interest in the Phoenix racetrack when his license was revoked in November last year for alleged ties to organized crime and a bribery scandal, and he was ordered by the Arizona Gaming Department to sell his ownership in the track.

Simms’s future with the track was further clouded in March, when state regulators denied him a license based on reports of his alleged illegal activity.

In the interim, Simms has kept a very low profile and was exercising no management control while the issue was still in doubt.

"I appreciate the solid support I received from the employees and horsemen," Simms said, "and I look forward to making further improvement at Turf Paradise."

Turf Paradise General Manager Randy Fozzard said that he was relieved by the decision, which came a few days after the track's bid to get slot machines was soundly defeated by Arizona voters.

"With the uncertainty of what happened in the election, we need our entire ownership solid, and now they are," Fozzard said.—Jim Gintonio


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