01/18/2010 1:00AM

Turf Paradise cuts some stakes purses

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Feeling the effects of a down economy and and lower in-state handle figures, Turf Paradise will cut the purses of six upcoming stakes.

Four $50,000 stakes will be reduced to $25,000: the Mesa, Turf Paradise, and Sun City handicaps and the Arizona Oaks. The $100,000 Phoenix Gold will be trimmed to $75,000 and the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby will be reduced to $50,000.

"These measures were arrived at jointly with our horsemen," said Eugene Joyce, the track's president and general manager. "Our out-of-state handle is up, but our in-state handle is down thus producing a purse overpayment. However, we remain optimistic that our new nighttime simulcasting and ongoing expansion of our OTB sites will have a positive impact."

Tom Metzen, executive director of the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said 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."