Turf Paradise: Going, Going…

Apparently, the deal to sell Turf Paradise to a developer has fallen through, but owner Jerry Simms says he is done anyway. Yes, Simms, who claims he’s getting out to spend more time with his family, is shuttering Turf as of Oct 1. As a bonus, because they are legally tied to live racing, 37 Arizona OTBs will also be closing. This, folks, is as important as Golden Gate closing in neighboring California. And it could be even bigger.

Going into this year, Arizona had three tracks: Turf, Arizona Downs, and Rillito. The last is a boutique meet, running but 18 days this year. And Arizona Downs, citing financial difficulties, did not even open for business this summer. Here is how trainer Justin Evans assesses the situation (in BloodHorse): “It’s gonna cripple…the racing industry in Arizona.” One man’s crippling is another’s moral progress.

If indeed it is over at Turf, the track’s final race on its final day (May 6) couldn’t have been more fittingly named: “The Hasta La Vista Stakes.” Perfect.

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8 Comments

    • Hopefully, the property will.be put to good use for the people of AZ. Money making venture that doesn’t include the murder fest of hundreds of beautiful.innocent horses.

  1. The reviews on Maps of Turf Paradise weren’t very good. It sounded like a very unsanitary place to be for people.
    Now the trainer that complained about whether or not be might have to go home and get his .22 rifle to put his injured horses to sleep at Turf Paradise because there were not enough veterinarians on the payroll and physically present at the track to so-called “humanely” euthanize his abused-almost-to-death-racehorses won’t have to “worry” about that anymore.
    What a disgusting legacy!

  2. Trainer Justin Evans said: “It’s gonna cripple … the racing industry in Arizona”
    Better to cripple your sorry industry than one more innocent horse, Mr. Evans.

  3. When I was actively betting on horse racing, I would spend many winters in sunny California attending the races in Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and occasionally betting on Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows, as both SA and Hollywood offered simulcasting on those tracks. I would also attend Los Alamitos at night, and I also bet Del Mar during the summer meet.

    Santa Anita also offered simulcasting on Turf Paradise, a track which both I, and many of my wagering cohorts considered to be among the worst in the country. It still is. Closing for good Oct. 1? well, good riddance to bad rubbish. I never bet on TP because the horses were almost always unsound and handicapping was near impossible.

    Progress- ?

    Out of all the tracks I just mentioned (six) only two will be operational by Jan 1- Santa Anita and Del Mar. I also understand that the Stronach group is closing Golden Gate Fields in the hopes that it will prop up racing at Santa Anita.

    I wouldn’t bet on that. The biggest problem I see is lack of interest in the’ sport’. particularly among young people. You’ll notice that although four race tracks have closed in the state of California, no one is vying for the right to build new race tracks in the Golden State. With all-sources handle being DOWN at Del Mar, and for that matter, Saratoga as well, it’s pretty clear that the racing industry is going the wrong way – in terms of being a profitable, self-sustaining enterprise , that is.

    I don’t see it righting itself anytime soon. It’s not a good scene, all around. I left it for good over a year ago, and have no regrets whatsoever.
    -Joe

  4. The whole industry is too crooked and in decline in the wagering handle and the population of horses. New foal crop numbers are below 18,000 annually in North America whereas the highest number of new foals was over 50,000 in 1986. Horseracing will never be able to regain it’s popularity that it once held.
    It’s a crooked “game” where cheating and various illegal activities are the “norm” therefore it needs to be a thing of the past.

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