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turf paradise horse race

Turf Paradise kicks off historic 60th season

Disneyland is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and so is Turf Paradise.  Arizona’s first sports franchise opened its doors in January 1956 at 15th Ave. and Bell Road.  At the time, the track was in the middle of the desert and fans had to navigate a pair of dirt roads to watch and wager on horse racing.

Since then, Phoenix has grown up around Turf Paradise as it gets ready to celebrate its 60th season just months after renewed interest in the sport of horse racing following American Pharoah’s Triple Crown victory.

Opening day is October 17th. There will be a full card of live horse racing, free t-shirts for the first 5,000 paid admission, live music, a kids fun park, a barbecue tent, and a rare display of LeRoy Neiman’s classic painting of Seattle Slew.

The gates open at 11am and the first post time is 12:30. The race card includes the $35,000 Bienvenidos Stakes.

Opening day will be a day long party celebrating 60 sizzling seasons of horse racing in Phoenix. It will also serve as the debut of new track announcer Robert Fox who comes Turf Paradise from Ruidoso Downs in News Mexico and Tucson’s Rillito Park.

The Clubhouse will also be hosting a one of a kind display from Scottsdale’s Larsen Art Auction, LeRoy Neiman’s “Seattle Slew.” The Triple Crown winner is depicted mid-gallop, and includes his own hoof print in the corner on top of Neiman’s signature.

Turf Paradise has passed through three other owners to its current owner, Jerry Simms, who will preside over the track’s 60th season of racing with a 136-day meet running from October 17-May 8, 2016.

There are 35 stakes races this season with a combined value of  $1.45 million.
They include the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup (Feb. 13), the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile (Jan. 16) and the $75,000 Turf Paradise Derby (Feb, 20).

As always fans can watch and wager on races locally and across the globe.

The season also includes

  • Special Fiesta Sundays throughout the season featuring Mexican food and music
  • Breeders Cup Party October 31st
  • A Thanksgiving Weekend Party
  • 60th Anniversary Party featuring the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile January 16th
  • Super Saturday February 13th
  • Wiener Dog Races March 12th
  • Camel and Ostrich Races March 26th
  • Kentucky Derby Party May 7th

As always grandstand admission is just $2. There will also be food and drink specials.

Turf Paradise General Manager Vincent Francia said, “Very few businesses in Phoenix have been continually operating at the same location for 60 years. At a time when the sport of horse racing is struggling, we have been blessed with a loyal and growing fan base. After American Pharoah’s Triple Crown victory, more people are discovering the sport of horse racing. We welcome them to our growing family of fans.”
Who: Turf Paradise
What: Opening Day at Turf Paradise
When: October 17th Gates open at 11a.m.
Where: Turf Paradise 1501 West Bell Road
Why: To start the 60th season of horseracing in Arizona
How Much:
Grandstand Admission– $2
Turf Club/Clubhouse– $4
General Parking– Free

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Get down and ‘derby’ deals in the Valley

If you are looking for something other than Cinco de Mayo celebrations this weekend, maybe the Kentucky Derby is more your style. Saturday, May 3, presents the 140th Kentucky Derby, which some describe as the most exciting two minutes in sports. There are several Kentucky Derby parties for women to dress up in spring dresses and giant hats and men to dress in their best seersuckers suits.

    Turf Paradise: This huge, spring party has all the Kentucky Derby musts including mint juleps and a fashion judging of traditional Derby clothes of bonnets, sundresses and suits. There are a variety of choices, depending on your budget, including a “Top of the Park” suite that encompasses a view of the infield lakes and two racetracks, a Turf Club Buffet that includes private televisions for viewing, a Clubhouse and Players’ Buffet that get you closer to the horses and the cheering crowd and finally, a Party on the Rail that lets you get up close to the race. All areas include Kentucky Derby food and drinks. Don’t forget to stay for the Hat and Ensemble contest!
    Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: This party is comprised of a Kentucky Derby Brunch and Lawn Party. Live blues music will accompany the mint juleps, bourbon tastings, buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, crab Louie, shrimp and grits and truffled mac ‘n’ cheese. If you haven’t divulged enough, then continue on to dessert with lemon meringue tarts, red velvet cupcakes and chocolate bourbon pecan pies. You can also try signature cocktails including a “Seersucker” cocktail with bourbon, peach and mint, “The Derby” with bourbon, sweet vermouth, orange curaçao and lime or the “Kentucky Cousin” with Know Creek Bourbon Cherry Herring, lemon and black tea. Once you have eaten your fill, you can play horseshoes and lawn games, take pictures with four-time National Champion racehorse, Saul, or enjoy the women in their stylish hats and men in their suits.
    The Phoenician in Scottsdale: Like the other two events, The Phoenician will host a Kentucky Derby Party with a special viewing party on the Orchid Lawn. The party will include flat screen TVs covering the pre-race festivities and the race itself. Women can compete in the best hat contest and men can win the best Southern fashion contest. Festivities will also include a Winner’s Circle raffle and a delicious Southern menu.

If you want a more low-key atmosphere to watch the race, visit one of these local restaurants to try a Kentucky Derby-inspired cocktail:
    Phoenix Public Market Café: The TNT, $8, contains Arizona Distilling Company Copper City Bourbon, tamarind paste, pequin chili simple syrup and fresh-squeezed lemon
    J&G Steakhouse: Whiskey Passion Fruit Fizz, $13, is composed of Passion Fruit Chili Bar syrup, bourbon and ginger ale
    Crudo: No Name, $12, is made of Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon, Montenegro, Bonal, St. Elizabeth allspice Dram and Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters, served in a chilled coupe
    Central Bistro: Old Fashioned, $10, has Wild Turkey Rye, Demerara syrup and old fashion bitters
    Del Frisco’s Grille: Tennessee Peach, $5, mixes Jack Daniel’s, fresh peaches, honey and fresh lime juice
    American TapHouse: Mint Julep, $3, is a classic drink that can be paired with a delicious BBQ pulled pork sandwich

So whether you are watching the races or just want to try something new, check out these local events and specials this weekend!

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Turf Paradise Kentucky Derby Party May 4

The biggest and best Kentucky Derby party in Arizona is at Turf Paradise, Arizona’s home for thoroughbred racing.

Enjoy “the greatest two minutes in sports” with mint juleps, ladies in bonnets and sundresses, and guys in their Kentucky-Gent finery.

jpeg-3In addition to watching the simulcast from Kentucky, the day also features a full card of live racing, giving fans a chance to bet on the derby and live local horse racing.

Start making your bonnets and get your matching dress ready for our annual Kentucky Derby Ensemble & Hat Contest. The contest takes place in the Grandstand apron right after the running of the Kentucky Derby. Registration is free and begins at 12 p.m.

Come out and enjoy the live music and
 Family Fun Park. Free Kentucky Derby glasses will be given to the first 3,500 paid admissions.

General admission for the party is $5, and the gates open at 7 a.m.

For those who want to kick it up a notch we offer all day buffets in the air conditioned comfort of our clubs and suites which feature table-side monitors.

“Top of the Park” Directors Suite Buffet, $65,
 Reservations: (602) 375-6471

Turf Club All Day Buffet, $65,
 Turf Club Reservations: (602) 375-6472

Clubhouse All Day Buffet, $38, 
Clubhouse Reservations: (602) 375-6470

Players’ Club Buffet, $38,
 Reservations: (602) 375-6472

For all buffets price includes admission, seating, buffet, tax, gratuity & Kentucky Derby glass.

Party on the Rail offers 
prime seating at either of the two full-service Tiki style bars or your comfy private table with a jumbo umbrella for those in need of a little shade. TABLE FOR 4: $100 and includes four combo meals: hamburger or hot dog with soda and chips
. For table reservations: Call Amelia at (602) 375-6471,
 and for bar stool reservations: Talk to your bartender Cindi at Tiki Bar or Shannon at La Cantin.

For the latest Kentucky Derby Party event updates, visit the Derby Page.

Turf Paradise is located at 1501 W. Bell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85023

Valley Kentucky Derby Party at Turf Paradise

The biggest and best Kentucky Derby party in Arizona is at Turf Paradise, Arizona’s home for thoroughbred racing.

Enjoy “the greatest two minutes in sports” with mint juleps, ladies in bonnets and sundresses, and guys in their Kentucky-Gent finery.

jpeg-3In addition to watching the simulcast from Kentucky, the day also features a full card of live racing, giving fans a chance to bet on the derby and live local horse racing.

Start making your bonnets and get your matching dress ready for our annual Kentucky Derby Ensemble & Hat Contest. The contest takes place in the Grandstand apron right after the running of the Kentucky Derby. Registration is free and begins at 12 p.m.

Come out and enjoy the live music and
 Family Fun Park. Free Kentucky Derby glasses will be given to the first 3,500 paid admissions.

General admission for the party is $5, and the gates open at 7 a.m.

For those who want to kick it up a notch we offer all day buffets in the air conditioned comfort of our clubs and suites which feature table-side monitors.

“Top of the Park” Directors Suite Buffet, $65,
 Reservations: (602) 375-6471

Turf Club All Day Buffet, $65,
 Turf Club Reservations: (602) 375-6472

Clubhouse All Day Buffet, $38, 
Clubhouse Reservations: (602) 375-6470

Players’ Club Buffet, $38,
 Reservations: (602) 375-6472

For all buffets price includes admission, seating, buffet, tax, gratuity & Kentucky Derby glass.

Party on the Rail offers 
prime seating at either of the two full-service Tiki style bars or your comfy private table with a jumbo umbrella for those in need of a little shade. TABLE FOR 4: $100 and includes four combo meals: hamburger or hot dog with soda and chips
. For table reservations: Call Amelia at (602) 375-6471,
 and for bar stool reservations: Talk to your bartender Cindi at Tiki Bar or Shannon at La Cantin.

For the latest Kentucky Derby Party event updates, visit the Derby Page.

Turf Paradise is located at 1501 W. Bell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85023