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Wow, it seems like just yesterday we were watching Justify start his run for the Triple Crown and we were closing down the meet at Turf Paradise! But as I write this news update, we are only three weeks away from reopening the Arizona HBPA office at Turf Paradise for the running of the 2018-2019 racing season.
Even though it seems the summer flew by, the Arizona HBPA has been busy working with all three tracks on the future of Arizona racing.
Starting off with Turf Paradise, the track invested in two new harrows this summer, which is something the maintenance crew has been asking for. They are saying the new harrows will better maintain the track, which should help keep horses and jockeys safer. Also, new water lines have been run to help provide better water pressure to the barns in K row. As is the case every year, there will be asphalt patchwork done to fill all the potholes. In early July, there was a bad storm that went through the backside, and several of the portable stalls in L row were blown over. Work has started to put all of this back together. The Arizona HBPA board is going to be more involved this year working with Turf Paradise on promotional events at the track to attract more people to the races. Here are some important dates to know for the Turf Paradise meet:
August 15—Stall applications due
September 4—Arizona HBPA office will open at 8 a.m., and the barn area will open for cleaning and setting up of stalls
September 11—Horses may start arriving on the backside
September 13—Main track will open for training and workouts
The Arizona HBPA office hours for the month of September are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Starting Monday, October 1, we will begin regular office hours.
Rillito Park is making plans for their race meet. Rillito will run again in 2019 during February and March, running on Saturdays and Sundays. After much debate, Rillito Park and Turf Paradise came to an agreement on the proceeds from the Churchill ADW contract. So, a portion of the proceeds from the Churchill ADW contract will go to the Rillito purse fund.
There have been lots of meetings and discussions on the new arrangement with the Pima County OTB system. Starting January 1, 2019, there will no longer be a dome on the Pima County OTBs, and Pima County will then be open to any racetrack for opening up new OTBs.
Arizona Downs (formerly Yavapai Downs) has been very busy with remodeling their clubhouse and grandstand. The track had the finishing touches done to the first floor so the simulcast area could open July 12. Track officials were excited about the amount of business they were able to do at their location for the month of July. Arizona Downs also has signed an agreement with two new OTB locations in the Phoenix area. The track will be applying for city permits in August and the licenses for those locations at the September commission meeting. Arizona Downs has been very busy working at making a year-round circuit in the state starting in the summer of 2019.
The Arizona HBPA will be having a welcome back party so be watching for details. We look forward to seeing all of you at Turf Paradise in September!
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