Some Racing Interests Oppose Arizona Bill

Tucson track could end dog racing but continue simulcasts for two years.

Legislation that would end dog racing at Tucson Greyhound Park but allow the track to operate off-track betting parlors for another two years passed the Arizona Senate Finance Committee March 16.

The Associated Press reported the bill has the support of the dog track, an official for which said he believes greyhound racing will eventually end nationally. But the provision that allows the track to continue operating OTB facilities in the Tucson market doesn't sit well with horse racing interests that must pay the dog track $500,000 a year to offer their product in Tucson.

Turf Paradise is the primary Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse track in Arizona.

The provision that would continue the payments for another two years is opposed by Sen. Steve Pierce, among others, the AP reported. The lawmaker said the requirement, which enacted, was designed to protect dog racing from tribal casinos years ago.

"We're paying the money and we would like to have that money put into the breeders' fund or to the awards fund," Pierce said.

There is another twist. Delaware North Companies, which ended dog racing first at Apache Greyhound Park and then Phoenix Greyhound Park, still operates its own OTB facilities in the greater Phoenix area. A spokesman for the company told lawmakers it opposes the legislation because it would prevent the tracks from reopening for live racing if economic conditions improve, the AP reported.

Tucson Greyhound Park, which opened in 1944, is one of two racetracks in Pima County. The other one, Rillito Park, is currently open for its live mixed meet; the track only offers full-card simulcasts during its live racing season.