Self-made Arizona businessman, real estate mogul, and philanthropist, Jerry Simms is celebrating the 62nd anniversary of his beloved race track, Turf Paradise.
Turf Paradise opened its doors Jan. 7, 1956, making history as the first organized professional sports franchise in Arizona.
Hosting only five owners in over 50 decades, Simms purchased the track in 2000 and invested in a multimillion-dollar renovation including a state-of-the-art equine pool for the training and therapy of the nearly 2,000 horses that call Turf Paradise home.
The 30-foot by 60-foot equine pool provides advanced horse therapy for thoroughbreds housed on the backside of the track. Containing more than 140,000 gallons of water and measuring 12 feet in depth, the pool accommodates up to six horses at a time and has contributed to equine health and field size.
Additionally, Simms invested in the restyle of the main track, Clubhouse and Turf Club adding two race book-style betting carrels including 80 private terminals, one located in the Clubhouse and the other adjacent to the Turf Club.
With a savvy background in real estate, Simms purchased the property at the busy 19th Ave. and Bell Rd. intersection adjacent to Turf Paradise to create convenience around the community by making use for commercial development, elevating the tracks racing operation, revitalizing the nearby area and paving the way for box-box retailers.
Although Simms’s efforts to the development and renovation of Turf Paradise have successfully turned the track into the third largest sporting attraction in Arizona, one would argue that his greatest contributions to the track have been the personal, family-friendly investments he has continued to incorporate into the Turf Paradise culture for his staff and the thousands who visit.
Simms has implemented many successful events held at Turf Paradise including Day at The Races where kids can feed the horses, meet the jockeys and ride the ponies all in benefit of Phoenix Children’s Hospital; Wine, Women and Horses, an annual event that donates proceeds to the Child Crisis Center; Alternative Race Day, featuring camels, zebras and other exotic animals to raise money for the Arizona Humane Society and Life After Racing, which supports organizations devoted to the care of horses when they’ve finished their racing career.
Simms has created a family-friendly destination for all sports and animal lovers to enjoy year-round.
About Jerry Simms:
Jerry Simms is a philanthropist, local Arizona businessman, proud grandfather and lifelong entrepreneur. He began his business ventures in the 1970s, owning auto dealerships in Pasadena, Calif., then later moving into the banking industry and real estate development. Born in the Midwest, Jerry grew up loving horses and horse racing, a persuading factor in his decision to move to Phoenix in 1996 and purchase Turf Paradise in 2000. Today, Turf Paradise is the third-largest sporting attraction in Arizona.