PHOENIX — Live racing at the Turf Paradise horse racetrack will soon come to an end.
Owner Jerry Simms announced Monday he was retiring after operating the Valley racetrack for the last 23 years.
As of Oct. 1, no more live racing or simulcasting will take place at Turf Paradise.
The racetrack also maintains 37 off-track betting sites throughout Arizona. These OTBs will have to close on Oct. 1 since Turf Paradise will no longer be running live race meets.
Vincent Francia, the general manager said Monday there is still hope for the future of the track. As of right now, there are two potential buyers who may continue the long standing tradition of horse racing at Turf Paradise.
“It’s a transition period," Francia said. "It’s not a statement that racing is gone forever in Arizona.”
Turf Paradise originally opened near 19th Avenue and Bell Road in the 1950s.
In addition to the annual Kentucky Derby parties the racetrack would host, Turf Paradise periodically provided family-friendly events featuring special ostrich and zebra races.
A few years ago, the racetrack changed its protocols after it experienced a rise in horse fatalities. A report from the Arizona Department of Gaming found that many of horses had to be euthanized after the horses suffered leg or ankle injuries during a race.
UP TO SPEED
Watch 12News+ for free
You can now watch 12News content anytime, anywhere thanks to the 12News+ app!
The free 12News+ app from 12News lets users stream live events — including daily newscasts like "Today in AZ" and "12 News" and our daily lifestyle program, "Arizona Midday"—on Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
12News+ showcases live video throughout the day for breaking news, local news, weather and even an occasional moment of Zen showcasing breathtaking sights from across Arizona.
Users can also watch on-demand videos of top stories, local politics, I-Team investigations, Arizona-specific features and vintage videos from the 12News archives.
Roku: Add the channel from the Roku store or by searching for "12 News KPNX."
Amazon Fire TV: Search for "12 News KPNX" to find the free 12News+ app to add to your account, or have the 12News+ app delivered directly to your Amazon Fire TV through Amazon.com or the Amazon app.