Few regions in the country are as enjoyable this time of year as Arizona. Racing fans have two tracks to follow in the spring: Turf Paradise in Phoenix and Rillito Park in Tuscon.
Turf Paradise offers a mixed meet through May 7. Quarter Horse players cannot dismiss trainer Matt Fales, who, once again, tops the Quarter Horse trainer leaderboard. Fales began training in 2005 and divides his barn between Turf Paradise and Los Alamitos. On Sunday, his trainee, Hoot And Holler captured the $5,000 Maiden Stakes. Bred and owned by his parents, Carrie and Ralph Fales, the Carters Cartel gelding was the third-fastest qualifier in trials contested on January 15.
“He had some growing pains early in the spring,” Fales said of the now 3-year-old Hoot And Holler. “He had bad luck in the John Deere Juvenile last year, but hopefully will be ready for the Bank of America Challenge in April.”
Three Bank of America Racing Challenge regional stakes will take place at Turf Paradise in April. The three stakes are the $55,000 Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge (G3); the $20,000-added John Deere Turf Paradise Juvenile Challenge for 2-year-olds and the 870-yard $15,000 AQHA Distance Challenge. Each of those winners will earn a berth into the Bank of America Challenge Championships, October 14 at Prairie Meadows.
The 2017 live racing season at Rillito Park gets underway on February 11 and will continue through March 19.
Opened in 1943, Rillito Park in Tucson, Arizona, is considered the birthplace of modern-day American Quarter Horse racing. Rillito’s legacy includes the introduction of the photo finish and the straightaway “chute system,” a standard for Quarter Horse racing today. Famous horses in Quarter Horse history such as Shue Fly, Piggin String and Hard Twist have all raced at the track, and the American Quarter Horse Association dedicated an AQHA Historical Marker to Rillito Park in 1996 to recognize the track’s important place in sprinting history.