Turf Paradise concluded it 50th anniversary season May 21 with substantial increases in attendance and handle.The Phoenix, Ariz., track reported on-track attendance of 357,566 for the 166-day meeting, an increase of 5% over 2005's total of 340,473. Average daily attendance was 2,154.On-track handle showed an increase of 3%, totaling $15,860,655, the track reported. All-source handle soared to $233,019,960, a jump of 10% over 2005. The hike was fueled by increase of 10% in inter-track wagering, which topped $202 million. "Everyone worked so hard to make Turf's 50th year the best ever," said track owner Jerry Simms. "I'm happy for our employees and for the track's success. We'll have new goals to shoot for next season."A 156-day live meet will run from opening day October 6 through May 6, 2007.Horsemen received an increase of more than $1.2 million in their purses from the previous season.
"This year's record numbers reflect the growing potential of horse racing in Arizona," said Eugene Joyce, completing his first season as the track's general manager. "I thank our horsemen for contributing to this success."