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2018 Update

 Pari-Mutual wagering was approved in Arizona in 1935. In 1937 the first pari-mutual site opened, a dog track in Phoenix. The first horse venue Rillito Park did not open until 1943. The States premier site Turf Paradise opened in 1956. Racing is also run at a handful of fairs during the year.

 In 2011 in Prescott, where racing has gone on for over 100 years Yavapai Downs suddenly closed down, days before their meet was to begin. Arizona tracks are still running without the benefit of a racino format even though casinos are legal in the state.

2018 Update

Looking back it looks like I got a little lazy with Arizona racing. There were a few fair tracks that I never included, although it looks like the only active one, may be the Santa Cruz County Fair, in Sonoita. Until someone brought it to my attention, I completely missed the Phoenix Trotting Park in the original write. As for that venue it looks like after standing vacant for many years, it was humanly destroyed last year, so if you hadn't seen it by now it's too late. The height of laziness, came with the coverage of Yavapai Downs.

I kind of mashed Prescott Downs and Yavapai Downs together, technically Yavapai did replace Prescott, but they are two separate facilities, not even in the same town. Prescott Downs, is located about a mile outside Prescott, while Yavapai is located in Prescott Valley, about twenty miles away. The good news, they both still exist, Prescott Downs, racing surface is gone, but the grandstand is still there. As for Yavapai it is not only intact, but now has new owners who are trying to bring racing back.

Arizona is not a racino state, so it's a tribute that it's primary source of racing Turf Paradise, is still in existence. Turf Paradise, continues to run it's October to May live schedule, while offering year round simulcasting. Slide down to Tucson and we round out Arizona with Rillito Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is celebrating it's diamond jubilee this year. It is said to be the origin of pari mutual quarter horse racing. The Rillito Park Foundation was formed to preserve the track, if you want to donate you can go to the Rillito Park web page.