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Turf Paradise is a horse-racing track in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. It opened in 1956, at 1501 W Bell Rd.
History of Turf Paradise
1954 – Phoenix businessman Walter Cluer purchased 1,400 acres of barren desert, now 19th Avenue & Bell Road, in the Deer Valley section of Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States.
1956 – Turf Paradise is a thoroughbred and quarter-horse racetrack that opened on January 7, 1956, making history in the Valley as the first organized professional sports franchise in Arizona.
1980 – When Herb Owens took over, Turf Paradise was renovated. A seven-furlong infield turf course with a one-mile and one-eighth (1.8 km) chute was added. The Clubhouse was enlarged, and a Turf Club with a penthouse-style Directors’ Suite and an outdoor patio were also added.
1989 – Robert Walker of Scottsdale purchased the track and shifted it into the gambling field of off-track betting. In addition, Walker and a group interested in horse racing successfully appealed to the Arizona Legislature to legalize off-track betting (OTB).
1994 – The track was purchased in a stock acquisition by California-based Hollywood Park Racetrack under the chairmanship of Randall D. Hubbard.
2000 – The racecourse once again changed owners. Jerry Simms purchased Turf Paradise on June 16, 2000, for $53 million. He set out a $5 million renovation plan for the Clubhouse, Turf Club, main track, and turf course.
2003 – The new owner built a $125,000 equine swimming pool in the stable area of the racetrack in the summer of 2003. The 30-foot (9.1 m) by 60-foot (18 m) pool provides advanced horse therapy for more than 2,200 thoroughbreds stabled on the backside. The pool accommodates up to six horses at a time, containing over 140,000 gallons of water and measuring 12 feet (3.7 m) in depth. The pool had an immediate effect, not only on equine health but on field size.
2004 – The racetrack continued growing and was in good financial status in 2004. The new owner purchased a property at the busy 19th Avenue and Bell Road intersection adjacent to the racecourse. He used the land for commercial development and to enhance the racing operation.
2020 – The meet ended early as the COVID-19 pandemic caused the track to shut down indefinitely.
2021 – Racing returned on January 4, 2021, with an 84-day race meet judged to be one of the most successful at the track in recent times.
- Before building the racetrack, local citizens believed that his business would fail as the location was 25 miles (40 km) from downtown Phoenix, with the only way being through rough and dirty roads. However, he pushed through Turf Paradise’s foundation and succeeded in it.
- It is widely known as the home of the Turf Paradise Derby in February, an official prep race for the Kentucky Derby.
- The racecourse is now the 3rd largest sports attraction in the State & holds the court to one of the country’s longest seasons of Thoroughbred racing.
Track Details and other Facilities
- 🐎Main Track
- One mile oval with 6 ½ and 1 ¼ chute
- Homestretch: 90 feet wide
- Backstretch: 85 feet wide
- 5% banking on turns
- 6″ Sandy Loam Cushion
- 8″ compacted
- 10″ clay base
- 🐎Turf Course
- 7-furlong oval with 1 1/8-mile chute
- Homestretch and backstretch 62 feet wide
- 3% banking on turns
- 6″ Hybrid Bermuda and Winter Rye
- Bladder irrigation drainage
- 🐎TV Monitors: 700
- 🐎Betting Carrels: 150
- 🐎Parking: 5,000 cars
- 🐎Mutuel Tellers: 150 with Self-Serves
- 🐎Seating Capacity: the main building facility has a total overall seating capacity of over 15,000 people
- 🐎Off-Track Betting Sites: 65
- 🐎Player’s Club
- It features 70 individual seat carrels and private TV monitors.
- It is located on the 3rd level behind the Turf Club.
- It is only open every Friday through Sunday from 9 am until the last simulcast race.
- It has 1,000 seat dining area.
- It is located on the second level of the main building.
- It features tiered seating in four-top and two-top tables with individual TV monitors at each table.
- The Clubhouse is open seven days a week.
- 🐎Turf Club
- It is located on the third floor of the main building.
- It is a multi-tiered dining room with tables for two, four, or six guests with private TV monitors on each table.
- It can accommodate 280 guests.
- 🐎Turf Club Terrace
- It can accommodate 280 guests.
- It is located right at the finish line.
- Turf Terrace Event includes admission, Turf Paradise racing program, how to bet guide, a choice of a 1 1/2-hour buffet menu, a race named in honor of your group, announced over the public address system and listed in the program.
- Minimum of 100 guests
- Buffets cost $40.00 per person (starting price).
- 🐎Park Pavilion
- The Park Pavilion tent is located on the homestretch.
- Live entertainments are available on special event days.
- Park Pavilion event includes admission, Turf Paradise racing program, how to bet guide, a choice of 1 1/2 hour buffet menu, a race named in honor of your group, announced over the public address system and listed in the program.
- Minimum of 100 guests for exclusive use.
- 🐎Directors’ Suite & Patio
- It can accommodate 50 to 200 guests.
- It is also known as “Top of the Park,”
- It is located on the 4th level of the main building
- The seating area can accommodate up to 60 guests, and a rooftop-covered patio can accommodate up to 150 guests.
- It offers private mutuel betting windows, a full-service bar, and restroom facilities.
- Directors’ Suite event includes admission, Turf Paradise racing program, how to bet guide, a choice of 1 1/2-hour buffet menu, a race named in honor of your group, announced over the public address system and listed in the program.
- Room charges $500, while Buffet’s starting price is $40.00 per person.
- Three levels inside and two levels outside.
- Its seating is offered on all levels on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Concession stands and bars are located throughout the Grandstand.
- The Family Picnic Area is part of the Grandstand and is located trackside east of the Grandstand apron.
- A Kids Fun Park is usually offered on Special Event Days.
- Party on the Rail is located on the trackside close to the finish line and has a seating area with picnic umbrella tables.
- This area can be reserved for group parties.
- 🐎The Silks Lounge
- It is located on the third level between the Turf Club and the Turf Club Terrace.
- It is an oval-shaped room with a seating capacity for up to 60 people and has a private bar and a covered veranda.
- It offers the same a la carte menu as the Turf Club and can also be reserved for a private party.
- It is open during live race days.
- 🐎The Players’ Club
- 🐎The Clubhouse Bar
- It is a full-service bar, the main bar for the Clubhouse.
- It is open seven days a week from 11 am until the last simulcast race.
- 🐎Jerry’s Deli
- It is located on the main floor of the Clubhouse.
- 🐎The Horsemen Bar
- It is a full-service bar on the main floor and west end of the Clubhouse just above the equestrians’ seating section.
- 🐎Triple Crown Bar
- It is a full-service bar located on the main level.
- It is open on live race days from 11 am to the last live race.
- 🐎Grandstand Bar
- It is a full-service bar located on the main level east of the Grandstand by a large bank of TV monitors.
- It is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to the last live race.
- 🐎Finish Line Bar
- It is a full-service bar located on the second level of the Grandstand, just as you step off the escalator to the left.
- The bar is open on Saturdays and Sundays and special event weekdays from 11 am to the last live race.
- 🐎Longshots Bar
- It is located on the second level next to Habanero’s Grill. It offers bottled & draft beer and well drinks only.
- It is open during special events only.
- 🐎Tiki and La Cantina bars
- The “Party on the Rail” trackside bars.
- Located outside on the Grandstand apron in front of the finish line.
- The Tiki Bar is open on live race days from noon to the last live race.
- La Cantina is open from noon to the last live race on Saturdays and Sundays.
- 🐎Triple Crown Grill
- It is located on the main level.
- The grill is open on live race days from 11 am until the last live race.
- 🐎Mario’s Pizza
- It is located on the main level
- It is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until the last live race.
- 🐎Snack Shack
- It is located on the main floor by the Grandstand entrance.
- It is open on weekends and certain weekdays.
- 🐎Habanero’s Grill
- It is located on the second level of the Grandstand.
- It is open from 11 am to the last live race on Saturdays and Sundays.
Major Events and Schedule
Turf Paradise Schedule
- Simulcasting Racing 7 days a week, starting at 9:00 am
- Gates open for General Public at 11 am.
- Live Racing Season is from October to May.
- From Saturday to Wednesday.
Turf Paradise Racing Most of Records/ Events
- Most Wins by a Jockey in One Day: 7, Roy York, January 14, 1970; Marty Wentz, December 17, 1983
- Most Wins in a Race Meet by a Jockey: 229, Pat Steinberg, 1987-1988
- Most Championships by a Jockey: 16, Jim Powell
- Most Wins in One Meet by a Trainer: 125, Robertino Diodoro, 2013-2014
- Largest On-Track Crowd: 14,633. December 31, 1983
- Largest On Track & OTB Crowd: 23,805, May 3, 2014
Major Stakes Races
- 🐴Turf Paradise Derby
- 🐴Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap
- 🐴Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap
Location and Access to the Racecourse
- Turf Paradise has 90-foot marquees at both entrances connecting Turf Paradise Road through the property from Bell Road to 19th Ave.
- It is located at 19th Avenue just south of Bell Road in the Deer Valley section of Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States.
- It is approximately 24 miles From Sky Harbor Airport.
- General Parking is free, Valet Parking costs $1, and Valet on Kentucky Derby Day costs $15.
Other racetracks are sorted and listed on the page “List of Racetracks”. To view the full list, hit the button below. You can also check the horse racing types and breeds to have a lot more in-depth knowledge about horse racing.
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