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Turf Paradise officials work with horsemen to balance purse structure


January 22, 2010     E-mail this page to a friend!

Racing officials at Turf Paradise consulted a panel of experts before changing the purse structure at their track: the horsemen who run there.

Facing declines in handle and other results of the depressed economy, management knew they had to make cuts. Rather than deciding by caveat where those cuts would be made, they consulted horsemen. Recognizing that overnight purses are what sustain the meet, they asked for continued purse support in those races, with cuts in stakes races.

As a result, four stakes previously worth $50,000 now offer $25,000: the Mesa, Turf Paradise, and Sun City handicaps, and the Arizona Oaks. The $100,000 Phoenix Gold will be cut to $75,000 and the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby to $50,000.

Tom Metzen, executive director of the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, has been quoted as saying that local horsemen agreed to these cuts "in order to maintain the overnight purses at the present level, since this affects the majority of horsemen.

"We will meet with our horsemen again in mid-February to assess the status of the purse account."