Horse Racing, Soccer to Coexist in Tucson

New soccer fields added to Rillito Park complex as part of $5-million renovation.

KOLD-TV Tucson

Historic Rillito Park in Tucson is scheduled to open its 2016 meet on January 30. PHOTO: KOLD-TV.

Three new lighted soccer fields at Rillito Park in Tucson will be dedicated on Saturday as part of a $5-million upgrade to the facility, which includes historic Rillito Park Racetrack.

For several years, the local debate was whether should be a racing complex or a soccer complex. Now, it seems it can be both.

"It's a compromise," Frank DeFazio, a member of the non-profit Rillito Foundation, told Tucson's KOLD-TV. "We tried to work it so they'd be happy and we'd be happy."

Unhappy with past racetrack operators, Pima County reached out to the Foundation for a two-year deal in hopes of better times, and they've arrived. This past horse racing season went so well that they are in negotiations for a five-year lease and an extension after that.

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