Tag Archives: Vincent Francia

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


GPEC announces Board of Directors for FY 2014

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) today announced the appointment of its Board of Directors for the 2014 fiscal year, as approved by the Executive Committee.

Alliance Bank of Arizona CEO James Lundy will continue to lead the Board of Directors as chairman.

“As the economy continues to improve, GPEC’s team of results-driven board directors will work to ensure the region not only maintains its trajectory but also pushes toward a more diversified and sustainable economy that is less dependent on growth industries like real estate and construction,” Lundy said. “I’m honored to work with this talented group of professionals and look forward to a productive year.”

Rounding out the Board’s leadership is SCF Arizona President and CEO Don Smith and Empire Southwest Executive Vice President Chris Zaharis as vice chairs, APS Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Tammy McLeod as secretary and Bryan Cave, LLP Partner R. Neil Irwin as treasurer.

New Board Directors include: Steve Banta, CEO of Valley Metro; the Honorable Denny Barney, District 1 Supervisor for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors; Scott Bradley, Area Vice President for Waste Management; Mark Clatt, Area President for Republic Services; the Honorable Vincent Francia, Mayor of the Town of Cave Creek; Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, President of the University of Arizona; Bill Jabjiniak, Economic Development Director for the City of Mesa; the Honorable Michael LeVault, Mayor of the Town of Youngtown; Rich Marchant, Executive Vice President, Global Operations for Crescent Crown Distributing; Ryan Nouis, Co-Founder and President of Job Brokers; and Eric Orsborn, Councilmember for the Town of Buckeye.

“GPEC’s success is largely driven by its strong Board of Directors, all of whom reflect the region and state’s most accomplished professionals,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “Every single one of them truly cares about our market’s success and serves as a community thought leader when it comes to competitiveness.”

Mayors from GPEC’s member communities and the organization’s Nominating Committee are responsible for nominating and appointing Board Directors. The one-year terms are approved during GPEC’s Annual Board meeting.

GPEC FY 2014 Board of Directors:

James Lundy – Chairman
Alliance Bank of Arizona

Don Smith – Vice Chair
President and CEO
SCF Arizona

Chris Zaharis – Vice Chair
Executive Vice President
Empire Southwest

Tammy McLeod – Secretary
Vice President and Chief Customer Officer
Arizona Public Service Company

R. Neil Irwin – Treasurer
Bryan Cave, LLP

William Pepicello, Ph.D. – Immediate Past Chair
University of Phoenix

Barry Broome
President and CEO
Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Richard C. Adkerson
President and CEO
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold

Jason Bagley
Government Affairs Manager

Ron Butler
Managing Partner
Ernst & Young LLP

Brian Campbell
Campbell & Mahoney, Chartered

Michael Crow, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Midwestern University

Derrick Hall
President and CEO
Arizona Diamondbacks

Sharon Harper
President and CEO
The Plaza Companies

Ann Weaver Hart, Ph.D.
University of Arizona

Don Kile
President, Master Planned Communities
The Ellman Companies

Paul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation

Rich Marchant
Executive Vice President, Global Operations
Crescent Crown Distributing

David Rousseau
Salt River Project

Joseph Stewart
Chairman and CEO
JPMorgan Chase Arizona

Hyman Sukiennik
Vice President
Cox Business

Karrin Kunasek Taylor
Executive Vice President and
Chief Entitlements Officer
DMB Associates, Inc.

Gerrit van Huisstede
Regional President Desert Mountain Region
Wells Fargo

Andy Warren
Maracay Homes

Richard B. West, III
Carefree Partners

John Zidich
Publisher & President
The Arizona Republic

Chuck Allen
Managing Director, Gov’t & Community Relations
US Airways

Steve Banta
Valley Metro

Denny Barney
County Supervisor-District 1
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Jason Barney
Principal and Partner
Landmark Investments

The Honorable Robert Barrett
City of Peoria

Timothy Bidwill
Vice President
Vermilion IDG

Scott Bradley
Area Vice President, Four Corners Area
Waste Management

Norman Butler
Market Executive
Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Mark Clatt
Area President
Republic Services

Jeff Crockett
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Wyatt Decker, M.D.
Mayo Clinic Arizona

George Forristall
Director of Project Development
Mortenson Construction

The Honorable Vincent Francia
Town of Cave Creek

Rufus Glasper, Ph.D.
Maricopa Community Colleges

Barry Halpern
Snell and Wilmer

G. Todd Hardy
Vice President of Assets
ASU Foundation

Lynne Herndon
Phoenix City President
BBVA Compass

Linda Hunt
Senior VP of Operations and President/CEO
Dignity Health Arizona

William Jabiiniak
Economic Development Director
City of Mesa

The Honorable Robert Jackson
City of Casa Grande

The Honorable Linda Kavanagh
Town of Fountain Hills

The Honorable Andy Kunasek
County Supervisor, District 3
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

The Honorable Michael LeVault
Town of Youngtown

The Honorable John Lewis
Town of Gilbert

The Honorable Marie Lopez Rogers
City of Avondale

The Honorable Georgia Lord
City of Goodyear

Jeff Lowe
MidFirst Bank

Paul Magallanez
Economic Development Director
City of Tolleson

Kate Maracas
Vice President

The Honorable Mark Mitchell
City of Tempe

Ryan Nouis
Co-Founder & President
Job Brokers

Ed Novak
Managing Partner
Polsinelli Shughart

Eric Osborn
Town of Buckeye

Rui Pereira
General Manager
Rancho de Los Caballeros

The Honorable Christian Price
City of Maricopa

Craig Robb
Managing Director
Zions Energy Link

The Honorable Jeff Serdy
City of Apache Junction

Steven M. Shope, Ph.D.
Sandia Research Corporation

James T. Swanson
President and CEO
Kitchell Corporation

Richard J. Thompson
President and CEO

Jay Tibshraeny
City of Chandler

John Welch
Managing Partner
Squire Sanders

Dan Withers
D.L. Withers Construction

The Honorable Sharon Wolcott
City of Surprise

Bryant Barber
Attorney at Law
Lewis and Roca