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New Hope On The Horizon For Arizona’s Turf Paradise Horse Racing Track

Written By Derek Helling on October 4, 2023 - Last Updated on January 23, 2024
turf paradise signage alongside track

Money doesn’t solve all problems; sometimes, it replaces issues with different perplexities. However, for the Turf Paradise horse racing track in Arizona, money could make some huge issues disappear.

Turf Paradise seemed bound to go the way of many other shuttered tracks around the United States. A new potential investor might rescue it from oblivion and convert it into one of the nation’s most robust venues for horse racing.

Hopeful buyer gives Turf Paradise new life

Just weeks ago, it seemed like the end was nigh for one of Arizona’s longest-tenured tracks. In September, owner Jerry Simms announced that the track would close on Oct. 1. Simms had a potential buyer, but when that deal didn’t pan out, he decided to retire and shutter the venue.

After that announcement, several interested parties came forward to take over the track’s management. According to Kevin Stone of KTAR News, Simms said that Richard Moore and the Turf Paradise Land Trust will take over ownership of the track.

Also involved in the transaction is Frank Nickens, an Arizona businessman. A release from Turf Paradise states that Arizona regulators have extended the contract for simulcast racing through Nov. 12 because of the potential buyout.

Furthermore, the deal should keep all 37 off-track betting sites in conjunction with Turf Paradise open. The further plan is to begin a new live racing meet in January 2024.

The new racing schedule could accompany some renovations at the track.

Horse racing track at Turf Paradise could get a serious facelift

The Turf Paradise Land Trust’s investment in the venue could go beyond simply what’s necessary to acquire the property and keep live horse racing moving forward. The prospective owners also say they want to invest $50 million into the track soon.

That money will go toward refurbishing the track and all the vital accommodations for race operations. In addition, pieces of the property could be repurposed. Options there include possible commercial space to attract visitors.

If that all comes to fruition, it would be a welcome development for the horse racing industry in Arizona. The state is also home to Arizona Downs and Rillito Park Race Track.

Most importantly, Arizona is a rare place where racing happens throughout the year due to its climate. New ownership and an update for Turf Paradise could go a long way to ensuring horse racing remains strong in Arizona.

Photo by Matt York / AP Photo
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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