Turf Paradise announces opening day for 61st season

(submitted photo)

(submitted photo)

The wait is almost over for horse racing fans. Turf Paradise, Arizona’s first sports franchise, opens its doors for its 61st season Saturday, Oct. 15.

There will be a full card of live horse racing and free t-shirts for the first 5,000 paid admissions, according to a press release. There will also be live music, a kids fun park, and a barbecue tent.

Opening day’s feature race will be the $30,000 Bienvenidos Stakes.

Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first post time is 12:55. As always, Grandstand admission is $2 and general parking is free.

Fans can watch and wager on races locally as well as on simulcasts from major racetracks around the country, the release stated.

Turf Paradise’s 61st seasons runs from Oct. 15 to May 7.

Turf Paradise, located at 19th Avenue and Bell Road, first opened its doors in 1956 and has operated at the same location ever since. It has maintained Arizona’s horse racing tradition for more than six decades.

There are 35 stakes races this season. They include the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile (Jan. 14) the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup (Feb. 11), and the $50,000 Turf Paradise Derby (Feb. 20).

Opening day is just the beginning. The season also includes:

  • Special Fiesta Sundays throughout the season featuring Mexican food and music;
  • Breeders Cup Party Nov. 5;
  • A Thanksgiving weekend party;
  • 61st Anniversary Party featuring the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Jan. 14;
  • Super Saturday Feb. 11;
  • Wiener Dog Races March 11;
  • Camel and Ostrich Races March 25;
  • Kentucky Derby Party May 6.

“Turf Paradise is the place where the horses go fast and the dollar goes far,” Turf Paradise General Manager Vincent Francia said in the release. “We are also proud to be carrying on the tradition of Arizona horse racing for a seventh decade. We look forward to welcoming a new generation of horse racing enthusiasts and welcoming back our loyal fans.”

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