Turf Paradise and the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (AZHBPA) have agreed to resume live racing at the Phoenix-based oval with an 84-day meeting running from January 2 thru May 1, 2021.
The meet would run on a five-day a week schedule, Saturday thru Wednesday. Horsemen can arrive Nov. 19 for stall preparations and then bring horses into the stable area Nov. 25. Training would begin Dec. 2.
The decision to resume live racing follows weeks of talks between the AZHBPA and Turf management. The forum for on-going discussions between the two sides was provided by Rudy Casillas, the Director for the Division of Racing, and the state's regulatory body for the sport.
Last season was cut short because of COVID-19 and the meet ended March 14.
In a letter penned by Casillas and addressed to Bob Hutton, President of the AZHBPA and Jerry Simms, the owner of Turf Paradise, he said, "Many thanks to both of you for finally reaching terms to allow for the racing industry to move forward. The Licensees and horseracing patrons will be pleased."
"The AZHBPA is all about live racing," said Hutton. "The AZHBPA is enthusiastic to help provide the opportunity for horsemen to race close to home and be with their families. Racing close to home will help eliminate unnecessary travel expenses and financial anxiety for our members."
"We're happy for our horsemen that they're going to be racing," said Simms. "Unfortunately we still have to deal with Covid-19, and we will. We thank Rudy Casillas for bringing us together and getting this done."