08/10/2011 11:35AM

Turf Paradise boosts stakes purses


Turf Paradise released its stakes schedule for the upcoming 2011-2012 meet, which will incorporate a 26 percent increase in purses for the 38 events.

The 157-day meet is set to open Oct. 1 and run through May 6, 2012, with live racing generally conducted five days a week, Friday through Sunday, with first post of 12:30 p.m.

The 56th meet is led, as usual, by the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup. The marquee event of the stand is set for six furlongs Feb. 18 as part of a stakes tripleheader that also includes the Turf Paradise Handicap and Sun City Handicap.

This year the Cotton Fitzsimmons (Jan. 14) at a mile on the turf has been boosted from $50,000 to $75,000 as has the Turf Paradise Derby (Feb. 25) at 1 1/16 miles. Thirty-two other stakes have had their purse raised from $25,000 to $35,000.

“We are experiencing an influx of wagering revenue since the in-state OTB system is now being operated by us,” said track general manager Vincent Francia. “We are passing along the benefits to our horsemen for the upcoming meet.”

Turf Paradise took over the OTB system when Yavapai Downs was unable to open its summer meet.