Mar 29, 2023 - Sports

With deadline looming, Turf Paradise completes safety repairs

A sign that reads Turf Paradise Marketplace and Racetrack behind a figure of a jockey on a horse.

Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

Turf Paradise says it completed repairs to the safety railing along its track to avoid sanctions from regulators as its racing season heads into the home stretch.

Context: The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA), a regulatory body created by Congress in 2020, issued notices to Turf Paradise on Feb. 24 and March 17 that the railing posed a significant risk to jockeys due to gaps in its panels and exposed edges.

The big picture: HISA set a March 31 deadline for Turf Paradise to fix the railing safety issues. If it didn't comply, the track would lose its ability to simulcast races and accept advance deposit wagering, a form of remote betting.

Why it matters: On average, horse tracks earn about 90% of their revenue through simulcasting and ADW, HISA spokesperson Mandy Minger told Axios Phoenix.

  • There are about six weeks left in Turf Paradise's racing season.
  • Vincent Francia, the track's general manager, told us trainers are looking for different tracks for the summer as the racing season here ends. The revenue they earn at Turf Paradise will help cover the sizable cost of shipping their horses.
  • "It would be a severe hardship to our horsemen," Francia said.

State of play: Turf Paradise officials have examined the railing along the 1-mile circumference of the oval racetrack and examined every panel, replacing them if needed, Francia said.

  • "We have every intention of being in compliance when they come for their inspection," he said.

What's next: Minger said HISA will inspect the repairs Wednesday, with two days to go before the Friday deadline.


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