Turf Paradise Race Course

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Turf Paradise Race Course
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates 33°38′05″N 112°05′33″W / 33.6348°N 112.0925°W / 33.6348; -112.0925Coordinates: 33°38′05″N 112°05′33″W / 33.6348°N 112.0925°W / 33.6348; -112.0925
Owned by Jerry Simms
Date opened January 7, 1956
Race type thoroughbred and quarter horse
Notable races Phoenix Gold Cup
Official website

Turf Paradise is a thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack in the North Mountain section of Phoenix, Arizona in the United States.


In 1954 businessman Walter Cluer, a successful millwork company founder and manufacturer from Phoenix, purchased 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) of barren desert at what is now Bell Road and 19th Avenue. Cluer, who was also a horse owner, dreamt of building a first-class race track in Phoenix.

Many locals thought Cluer's ambitious project was ill-timed and destined to fail, given that the property was 25 miles (40 km) from the hustle and bustle of the burgeoning metropolis of downtown Phoenix, and that the only way to get there was via a few badly maintained dirt roads, but he forged ahead and on January 7, 1956, Turf Paradise opened its doors to great success. Cluer remained as head of the track for nearly 25 years.

In 1980, Herb Owens took over and Turf Paradise entered into a phase of renovation. A seven-furlong infield turf course with a one mile (1.6 km) and one-eighth chute was added. The Clubhouse was enlarged and a Turf Club with penthouse-style Directors’ Suite and outdoor patio was also added.

Turf Paradise’s third owner, Robert Walker of Scottsdale, Arizona had made a fortune with an aerospace company he had founded and sold. He purchased the track in 1989 and moved it into the gambling field of off-track betting. Walker’s formula seemed to be the right approach at the right time, as he retired the track’s outstanding debt and declared the first-ever dividend for Turf Paradise stockholders. In addition, Walker and a consortium of horse racing interests successfully lobbied the Arizona Legislature to legalize off track betting (OTB). The in-state OTB network is perhaps Walker’s most significant contribution to the track and Arizona’s racing industry. What started out as a single OTB site in little Cave Creek (pop. 4,000) in 1991, has now grown to over 45 in-state OTBs and over 900 out-of-state locales, located in six different countries.

Turf Paradise took on a corporate face in 1994 when the track was purchased in a stock acquisition by California-based Hollywood Park Racetrack under the chairmanship of R.D. Hubbard. Despite intense competition from a number of Native American in-state casino gaming interests, Turf Paradise continued to flourish and achieve record mutual handle numbers.

The new millennium provided Turf Paradise with a new owner in the person of Jerry Simms. The self-made multi-millionaire purchased Turf Paradise on June 16, 2000 for $53 million. Simms immediately set out a $5 million renovation plan. Both the Clubhouse and Turf Club were completely renovated and re-styled. Two race book-style betting carrels, of 80 private terminals each, were added, one in the Clubhouse and the other adjacent to the Turf Club.

Simms also had the main track and turf course renovated, and in the summer of 2003, Simms built a $125,000 equine swimming pool in the stable area of the race track. 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. Containing over 140,000 gallons of water and measuring 12 feet (3.7 m) in depth, the pool accommodates up to six horses at a time. The pool had an immediate effect, not only on equine health but on field size.

The track was on a healthy financial footing in 2004, and Simms purchased property at the busy 19th Avenue and Bell Road intersection adjacent to the race track. He made use of the land for commercial development and at the same time enhancing the racing operation.

Opening up the 2014 season Turf Paradise will run a 144 day meet from Oct 18 to May 5. Turf Paradise will run 42 stakes. This is the first year that Turf Paradise implements phone wagering which was signed into law in May. However Turf Paradise will have a 10 day reduction of race days from the previous year 2013. [1]


Current Officers:

  • Jerry Simms, Chairman
  • Vince Francia, General Manager
  • Dave Johnson, Vice President and Assistant General Manager
  • Patty Chakour, Chief Financial Officer

Current Administration/Officials:

  • Tony Toporek, Director of Television Operations
  • Serena Simms, Director of Corporate Sales
  • Amelia Blanco, Director of Marketing
  • Del Blondin, Director of Security
  • Gareth Jones, Director of Food and Beverage
  • Jennifer Milam, Group Sales
  • Sondra Reisinger, Director of Human Resources- 602-375-6430 or sreisinger(at)turfparadise.net
  • Frank Abbate, Director of a Silver Spoon and a golden rattle. Frank Abbate is also privileged of having a silver spoon and a golden rattle for most of his life. Not understanding that some people live paycheck to paycheck.—[2]

Frank Abbate can be reached at 602-375-6438/6411 or mutuels(at)turfparadise.net

  • Shawn Swartz, Director of Racing
  • Coady Photography, Track Photographer
  • Sal Valesco, Plant Superintendent
  • Michael Chamberlain, Announcer and TV Commentator
  • Denny Hall, Starter
  • Bob Beaubien, Track Superintendent
  • Bucky Huff - Horsemen's Bookkeeper
  • George Estrada - Association Steward

OTB Locations[edit]

Turf Paradise has over 60 locations throughout Arizona

  • Ahwatukee Bleacher's Sports Grill 15410 W. Mountain Pkwy. #109 85044 Bleachers 480-759-4034
  • Apache Junct. AJ Greyhound Park 2552 W. Apache Trail 480-982-2371
  • Apache Junct. Mirage Sports Grill 725 W Apache Trail, # 2A Mirage S. G. 480-671-3846
  • Avondale Screwballs 965 E. Van Buren St. 85323 Screwballs 623-925-0090
  • Buckeye Waddell's 1629 N. 195th Ave. 85396 Waddell's 623-853-0395
  • Casa Grande McMasher's 1355 E. Florence Blvd. #139, 85222 McMasher's 520-426-1472
  • Cave Creek Gallagher's Food&Fun 34406 N. Black Mountain Pkwy 85331 Gallagher's 480-595-8800
  • Cave Creek Harold's 6895 E. Cave Creek Rd. 85331 Harold's 480-488-1906
  • Cottonwood Stromboli's 321 S. Main St. 86326 Stromboli's 928-634-3638
  • Chandler Nate's 3rd Base 1949 W. Ray Road #11 Nate's 480-782-6283
  • Flagstaff Museum Club 3404 E. Route 66, 86001 Museum Club 928-526-9434
  • Goodyear Roman's Oasis 16825 W. Yuma Rd. 85340 Roman's Oasis 623-932-0922
  • Glendale Arizona Pizza Co. 8110 W. Union Hills Dr. 85308 Arizona Pizza Co. 623-566-8123
  • Glendale Max's 6727 N. 47th Ave. 85301 Max's 623-937-1671
  • Glendale Stinger's Sport Bar 10040 N 43Rd Ave. 85302 Stinger's 623-937-9645
  • Kingman Cerbat Hills 3631 Stockton Hill Rd. 86401 Cerbat Hills 928-692-1835
  • Lake Havasu Gallagher's Dining & Pub 3524 McCulloch Blvd N. 86406 Gallagher's 928-855-8686
  • Mesa - Now Open JJ Madison's 430 N. Power Rd. 85205 480-924-8778
  • Mesa - Now Open O'Kelley's 2120 Guadalupe Rd. 85202 480-756-6069
  • Mesa RT O'Sullivan's 6646 E. Superstition Springs Blvd. RT O'Sullivan's 480-396-9933
  • Mesa - Now Open RT O'Sullivan"s 1610 South Stapley Dr. 480-398-3340
  • Payson Tiny's Family Rest. 600 Hwy. 260. 85541 Tiny's 928-468-2459
  • Peoria Gallager's 6750 W. Peoria 85345 Galleger's 623-486-2118
  • Peoria Ramada Inn 8955 N. Grand Ave. 85345 Ramada Inn 623-979-7200
  • Phoenix American Legion 364 N. 7th St. 85007 American Legion 602-253-5155
  • Phoenix Armadillo Grill 1904 E. Camelback Rd. 85016 Armadillo Grill 602-287-0700
  • Phoenix Azool Grill 3134 W. Carefree Hwy #3 Azool 623-582-5177
  • Phoenix Big Daddy's 10618 N. Cave Creek Rd. 85020 Big Daddy's 602-861-1034
  • Phoenix -Now Open Casey Jones Grill 2848 E. Bell Rd. 85032 602-493-9930
  • Phoenix County Line 10540 W. Indian School, 85039 County Line 623-877-8191
  • Phoenix -Now Open Diamond Plate Rest. 1820 S. 7th Street, 85034 Diamond Plate 602-252-2248
  • Phoenix Gallagher's 7575 N. 16th. St. 85020 Gallagher's 602-997-0084
  • Phoenix Gallagher's Baseline 3220 E. Baseline Gallagher's 602-437-0981
  • Phoenix Gallagher's 7th 751 E. Union Hills Dr. 85024 Gallagher's 602-867-3222
  • Phoenix Gallagher's Food&Fun 34406 N. Black Mountain Pkwy 85331 Gallagher's 480-595-8800
  • Phoenix -Now Open Mr. Haney's Castaways 5110 E. McDowell Rd. 85008 602-535-5695
  • Phoenix Padre Murphy 4338 W. Bell Rd. 85308 Padre Murphy 602-547-9406
  • Phoenix Purple Turtle 4105 N 51st Ave #157 Purple Turtle 623-247-3424
  • Prescott Matt's Longhorn 112 S. Montezuma St. 86301 Matt's 928-771-8788
  • Prescott Valley Antelope Lanes 6301 E. 2nd St. 86314 Antelope Lanes 928-772-7331
  • Quartzsite Yacht Club P.O 896 85346 - 1090 W Main St. Yacht Club 520-927-6331
  • Safford Safford Bowl 410 E. 4th St. Safford Bowl 928-428-0999
  • Scottsdale Arena Sports Grill 6245 E. Bell Rd. 85254 Arena Sports Grill 480-948-0008
  • Scottsdale BT's Sports Pub 13610 N. Scottsdale Rd. BT's Sports Pub 480-951-8837
  • Scottsdale - Now Open Derby Public House 4420 N. Saddle Bag Trail, 85251 480-999-3311
  • Scottsdale Tavern Grille 8800 E. Via Linda #106, 85285 Tavern Grille 480-614-5254
  • Scottsdale-Now Open Prankster's Too 7919 E. Thomas Rd, Suite 101 480-560-1383
  • Show Low RT's Black Bull 4481 S. White Mountain Rd. #2 85901 RT's Black Bull 928-537-4332
  • Sierra Vista P.C. Lounge 4700 E. Hwy 90, 85635 PC's Lounge 520-515-3333
  • Surprise Brookside II 15170 W. Bell Rd. 85374 Brookside 623-556-1000
  • Surprise Runner's 12751 W. Bell, 85374 Runner's 623-583-7270
  • Tempe Boston's Bar & Grill 1730 E. Elliot Rd. Boston's Bar & Grill 480-831-0822
  • Tempe Skip and Jan's 7700 S. Priest, 85284 Skip And Jan's 480-598-8611
  • Tempe-Now Open Prankster's Gar & Brill 1024 E. Broadway Rd. 480-967-8875
  • Yuma
  • Tucson Famous Sam's East 7129 E. Golf Links 520-296-1245
  • Tucson Famous Sam's Centr. 3933 E. Pima Rd. 520-323-1880
  • Tucson Putney's Sports Bar 6090 N. Oracle 520-575-1767
  • Tucson Golden Pin Lanes 1010 W. Miracle Mile 520-888-4272
  • Tucson Tucson Greyhound Prk 2601 S. 3rd Ave 520-884-7576
  • Tucson Jeff's Pub 112 S. Camino Seco 520-886-1001
  • Tucson Midtown Bar & Grill 4915 E. Speedway Blvd. 520-327-2011
  • Tucson Old Father Inn 4080 W. Ina Rd. 520-744-1200


Physical attributes[edit]

The track has a one mile (1.6 km) dirt oval and a seven furlong turf oval.


The following graded stakes are run at Turf Paradise:

  • MBNA America West/Southwest Airlines Championship Challenge Quarter horses (QH-GII)
  • AQRA Turf Paradise Open Quarter Horse Derby (QH-GII)
  • AQRA Turf Paradise Open Quarter Horse Futurity (QH-GIII)

The following stakes are run at Turf Paradise:

  • The Luke Kruytbosch Stakes
  • City of Phoenix Stakes
  • Caballos Del Sol Stakes
  • Turf Paradise 870 Challenge
  • ATBA Fall Sales Stake - Colts and Gelding Division
  • ABTA Fall Sales Stake - Fillies Division
  • Ford West/Southwest Juvenile Challenge Quarter Horse
  • AHW Atukee Express Stakes
  • Saguaro Stakes
  • Walter R. Cluer Memorial Stakes (Turf)
  • Chandler Stakes (Turf)
  • AQRA Futurity Quarter Horse
  • Paradise Valley Stakes (Turf)
  • Queen of the Green Handicap (Turf)
  • The "Corona Cartel" Stakes Quarter Horses
  • Arizona Breeders' Futurity - Colts and Geldings Division
  • Arizona Breeders' Futurity - Fillies Division
  • Black Mountain Handicap
  • Turf Paradise Quarter Horse Championship
  • Mesa Handicap
  • Arizona Juvenile Fillies Stakes
  • Arizona Juvenile Stakes
  • Cactus Wren Handicap
  • Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile (Turf)
  • Swift Stakes
  • Glendale Handicap (Turf)
  • Sun Devil Stakes
  • Rattlesnake Stakes
  • Kachina Handicap
  • G Malleah Handicap
  • Princess of Palms Handicap
  • Turf Paradise Derby
  • Arizona Oaks
  • Phoenix Gold Cup
  • Turf Paradise Handicap (Turf)
  • Sun City Handicap (Turf)
  • Palo Verde Stakes
  • Cactus Handicap
  • Coyote Handicap
  • Tempe Handicap (Turf)
  • Scottsdale Handicap
  • Arizona Stallion Stakes (Turf)
  • Wildcat Handicap (turf)
  • Cactus Flower Handicap
  • Sandra Hall Grand Canyon Handicap
  • Arizona Breeders' Derby
  • Joanne Dye Stakes
  • Ann Owens Distaff Handicap
  • Dwight D. Patterson Handicap (Turf)
  • Desert Sky Handicap (Turf)
  • ATBA Spring Sales Stake
  • Hasta La Vista Handicap


External links[edit]