04/23/2008 12:00AM

Health care project a success

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Physician Dawn Brokaw signed on to be Turf Paradise's doctor in residence five months ago, the goal being to deliver the best possible free health care service to the track's horsemen and grooms.

Brokaw feels the project has been a success, and in fact the clinic has surpassed her expectations.

"We've taken care of hundreds of backstretch people since our first patient Nov. 17," she said. "The program is more successful than I had hoped."

The program is jointly sponsored by the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the racetrack.

While some of the more than 2,000 people working in Turf Paradise's stable area are insured, as are the 500 track employees who don't work directly with horses, others are not.

"The whole point was to provide health care to those who may not be able to afford it," said Brokaw, 61. "We've achieved the goal of providing free care to trainers, grooms, and jockeys.

"It's not a money-making thing," said Brokaw. "Hopefully it will inspire other racetracks to initiate this type of program."