08/20/2014 2:08PM

Turf Paradise slates 42 stakes


Turf Paradise unveiled a $1.6 million stakes schedule as the Phoenix track prepares for its 59th racing season. The 144-day meet opens Oct. 18 and runs through May 5. The 42-stakes roster is headed by the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup on Feb. 14.

This will be the first meeting with phone wagering. That, plus a reduction in dates and races, will result in an increase of between 5 percent and 10 percent for overnight purses. Phone wagering was signed into law last May and went into effect this month.

“Our goal is to have phone betting operational by opening day,” said general manager Vince Francia.

There will be a 10-day reduction in race days from last year, and the daily cards will be eight-race programs, a reduction of one race per day.

“We have designed a new-look meet working with the Arizona HBPA,” said Francia.

Racing will be conducted five days a week, primarily Saturdays through Wednesdays. Two notable live-race Fridays will be the first day of the Breeders’ Cup, Oct. 31, and Kentucky Oaks Day, May 1. Post time will be 12:55 p.m. from opening day until March 8, when it moves to 1:25 p.m.