11/18/2003 1:00AM

Turf Paradise license renewed

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The Arizona Racing Commission on Monday unanimously agreed to renew the license of Turf Paradise for the next three years, ending a long review of the track's principal owner, Jerry Simms.

The commission approved the renewal on the recommendation of the Arizona Department of Racing, which had conducted a seven-month investigation of Simms.

Simms said he was happy to put the process behind him, calling the background investigation, "the most extensive review that's ever been done in Arizona."

Simms purchased Turf Paradise in 2000 for $53 million and was immediately licensed. But state regulators raised objections to the initial background check and threatened to rescind the track's license based on controversy over Simms's business and political dealings in the 1980's in California. Simms indicated Tuesday that he believed the licensing objections were politically motivated.