PHOENIX, AZ—APRIL 1, 2021—Turf Paradise General Manager Vince Francia says he will ask the Arizona Racing Commission during its upcoming April 19th meeting for a state rule change lowering the maximum age for horses competing at Arizona racetracks. The current rule is horses 13-year-old and under may race.
The upcoming request stems following the March 26th $12,500 Turf Paradise Quarter Horse Championship (not black type) when 10th place finisher Hes Too Icy For Me fell after crossing the finish line.
According to reports, Jockey Michael Ybarra was taken to the hospital for evaluation and released with sore ribs. Ybarra was back in the saddle at Turf Paradise March 30.
The gray gelding regained his feet after the fall for trainer Pedro Urias Soto and owner Angel Burrola.
"The horse is fine. He ran off for a bit. The outriders collared him," Francia said. "He did not need the ambulance. He was taken back to the barn."
Francia consulted with horsemen's representatives after the event. He met with representatives from the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Arizona Quarter Horse Association to receive their input on a rule change.
The proposed rule would prohibit horses aged 13 and older from starting, irrespective of breed, and require 12-year-olds to have won a race within the preceding 12 months.
Winless since 2013, Hes Too Icy For me won the 2010 Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity(G1) at Ruidoso Downs. The son of all-time leading sire First Down Dash has compiled a (36) 6-2-0 record and banked over $390,000 in nine races seasons.
According to Francia, Hes Too Icy For Me's passed veterinary inspection and was not flagged for concern by Turf Paradise's racing department.
Under Arizona law based on age, Hes too Icy for Me could again run at Turf Paradise or elsewhere in Arizona.
"If we're going by the state rule, he would be allowed to, but I would protest that," Francia said.
On March 29 Francia spoke to the Racing Division director for the Arizona Department of Gaming and was told that any rule change would need to be made on a state level, not as a "house" or track rule.