Arizona Downs Ends Racing Season Early Following Television Dispute

By Daniel Perle
Published: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 5:18pm
Updated: Monday, June 24, 2019 - 8:55am
Phil Latzman/KJZZ
Turf Paradise in Phoenix in 2015.

Arizona Downs in Prescott has announced it will end its summer horse racing season early.

The move comes after it couldn’t make as much money as needed from its off-track betting sites to stay open.

On Arizona Downs’ website, owner and partner Tom Auther took aim at Monarch Content Management which provides video feeds of horse racing to competing race tracks and their betting sites such as Turf Paradise at 19th Avenue and Bell Road. Ann Mcgovern is the general manager at Arizona Downs and says without national races airing at their off-track betting (OTB) sites they don’t have enough money to pay the jockeys.

“Because of the dispute between Monarch, Turf Paradise and us regarding some of the signal content that would be sent to the OTBs, we were not able to open the OTB’s as quickly as we wanted and generate purses," McGovern said. 

The dispute stems from a law Gov. Doug Ducey signed mandating horse race streaming services provide broadcasts to all tracks. Monarch has threatened to suspend all broadcasts in Arizona over the law, which is why Turf Paradise general manager Vincent Francia and Monarch are possibly going to challenge it in court.

“We are taking a look at it, the legality of the law, I do believe Monarch is probably doing the same," Francia said. 

Arizona Downs is having its final races of the season Saturday and Sunday.

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