Rillito Downs : Quarter Horseracing

Opened in 1943 Rillito Race Track is considered the birthplace of modern Quarter Horse racing.

Horseracing returns to Tucson!

The 2017 Winter Meet will have 6 weekends of live racing, February 11 through March 19, 2017.

Thoroughbred racing in the late afternoon and Quarter Horse racing under the lights!

Gates open at 10 a.m. on race days.

14 live race days, including two Fridays:

11&12 February

25&26 February

11&12 March

18&19 February

3,4 &5 March

17,18&19 March

 Dates are subject to approval by Arizona Board of Racing and may change.

Rillito Race Track was built on Rukin Jelks’ stud farm. Jelks, along with Melvin H. Haskell  were among the founders of modern Quarter Horse racing.  Jelks created a track in his  backyard for him to race his personal horses.   With the right combination of people and more horses, official racing was brought to the track.  Rillito’s legacy includes advancements such as the introduction of the photo  finish and the straightaway “chute system”:  Standard for Quarter Horse racing today.  Famous horses such as Shue Fly, Piggin String and Hard Twist raced at Rillito, and, the track experienced reasonable levels of success in the first decades of its existence.  Thoroughbred racing was brought to the track in 1953 with the introduction of a five-eighth-mile oval to the existing straightaway.  The Rillito Park Foundation manages the racetrack in addition to other park facilities including the Jelks Stud Farm house, the soccer fields and facilities for the farmers’ market.


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