Scenic USA - Arizona

Rillito Race Track Park

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Rillito Race Track Park - Tucson, Arizona

Photos by Peggy Price
Peggy Price Photography

Keeneland Stables Kentucky    Pounding hoof beats, colorful jockeys, and the roar from the crowd all contribute to the sights and sounds of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in Pima County. Taking advantage of the cooler temperatures of January and February, the Rillito Park Track features weekend racing in Tucson. Located under the gaze of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Rillito Track has been entertaining race fans since the 1940s. Overshadowed by the most famous race tracks in the country, Rillito can still claim to be the historic landmark of Quarter Horse racing and first to use the photo finish.
   Although Kentucky and Ocala, Florida, have dominated the horse breading limelight in the east, many famous race horse winners have earned their reputations at Rillito Park.
   Those unfamiliar with Arizona's topography, first thoughts would lead to its desert landscapes. Although the state's grasslands don't equal the lush green country-sides of Kentucky, plains and Great Basin grasslands are spread all across Rillito Jockey the northern half of the state. In the vast southeast, the area is dominated by semi-desert grassland. The San Rafael State Natural Area, once a bustling ranchland, is a unique area of rolling hills, lush grassy valleys, and cottonwood trees.
   This thrilling race track scene provides a stark contrast to idyllic pasture settings where horses spend the majority of their lives. Itís easy to imagine this is just as exciting for the horses as it is for the spectators. Pima County, named for the Pima American Indian Tribe, provides a rich horse racing history, many boarding stables, and equestrian centers. Enjoying recognition from the National Register of Historic Places, exciting horse racing events continue on Rillito's 5/8 mile track.

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