The Five Essentials of Horse Racing
Bred for speed and stamina over the centuries, the Thoroughbred is at once beautiful to the eye and explosive to watch when racing. As the centerpiece of the sport, the race horse is highly competitive and generates spectator excitement. At Turf Paradise there are over 2,200 Thoroughbreds stabled on the backside for the eight month race meet.
Pound for pound considered the most fit of athletes, a jockey combines strength and savvy when in the heat of competition. Generally under five feet tall and weighing no more than 112 pounds, a jockey makes split second decisions while traveling 40 mph aboard a 1,200 pound animal that is racing in close competitive quarters with other similarly determined horses and riders. There are about 85 jockeys at Turf Paradise during the race meet.
Although the Thoroughbred is bred and born to run, it’s the trainer that brings out the best in each horse. All horses may be beautiful, but they’re not created equal. Some run faster than others. It’s the trainer’s responsibility not only to see to the horse’s physical conditioning but to recognize the animal’s level of talent and race him accordingly. There are over 350 trainers on the grounds when the race meet is in session.
The owner is one of two of the financial components of the sport. Whether the horse is purchased out of a claiming race, at a sale or privately, it costs money. To keep a Thoroughbred in training costs $10,000 to $12,000 a year. Owners come from all walks of life and group ownership, designed to share the expenses, is increasingly popular. However, one thing all owners have in common, is, that one of their horses will one day be good enough to make it to Louisville for the first Saturday in May – The Kentucky Derby. There are over 2,000 owners who race their horses at Turf Paradise.
All sports depend on their fans and horse racing is no exception. Over the past five years horse racing’s fan base nationwide has increased. In fact, horse racing is the fastest growing sport among women. Over 800,000 fans attended the horse races last season, making Turf Paradise one of Arizona’s leading tourist attractions and third overall among the Top 25 sports venues in the Valley.