Horse Racing, Behind the Scenes at Turf Paradise

Ever wonder what it’s like behind the scenes of horse racing? This is a huge business that needs many dedicated people to make it successful. Hard working people that work long irregular hours, and often, in less than desirable conditions.

The owner of race horses often leases a barn at the track for each race season. Then there’s one or more trainers, a barn manager, grooms, farriers, and stable hands that have a wide variety of horse care duties.

Most race tracks have housing for at least some track employees; this could be in a trailer park on the property or nothing more than a place with shelter off the barn area. Some tracks are really nice, but most are pretty rough to say the least.

Horse racing is seasonal, that means home is often on the road.  During the winter months track horses are hauled to a warmer climate and run there. That creates yet another job that falls into the lap of those who make their living in horse transportation. Just as an example, many of the horses at Turf Paradise here in Phoenix will run until the weather turns hot. Then, hauled to Canada for their summer race season.

Track horses are moved all over the country for many different reasons, but it all boils down to where they have the best chance of winning… and earning the most money. This is an incredibly expensive business, it’s for those not only willing to take a chance, but more importantly the knowledge to know what it takes to make a winning horse.

Effects on the Economy

Here’s what Turf Paradise states in a recent article about our visiting Canadian horses here for the race season:

If the average trainer spends $75,000 a season, that adds up to $1.8 million that gets injected into the local economy. Assuming the average owner spends at least $4,000 a month in living expenses; that adds up to $320,000 for some 80 owners who set up a local residence. A conservative estimate would put the amount the Turf Paradise Canadians inject into the local economy at well more than $2 million a year.

Behind the Scenes at Turf Paradise

Certainly not as fancy as you might think, rows and rows of white block barns with 12×12 box stalls. Clean, but run down and for the most part, an organized eye sore.

Turf Paradise, Phoenix, Arizona

In 1954, Phoenix businessman Walter Cluer purchased 1,400 acres of barren desert which is now 19th Avenue & Bell Road with a vision. He wanted to build a first class race track in Phoenix. Only with his passion & dream Turf Paradise became a reality. Turf Paradise opened its doors January 7, 1956, making Valley history as the first organized professional sports franchise in Arizona… Read More


About tbnranch

amy elizabeth, writer, author, antique dealer. Lives in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert on a small hobby farm.
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2 Responses to Horse Racing, Behind the Scenes at Turf Paradise

  1. tbnranch says:

    It’s a busy time of year!

  2. Rita A. says:

    Interesting. I love to drive by slowly and catch glimpses of all the activity.

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