by Ray Poirier | Joe Joyce, a prominent thoroughbred racing executive for four decades and influential advisor to the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona prior to his death late last year, will have his contributions remembered with a scholarship at the university.
"Mr. Joyce was not only a great asset to the RTIP program as one of the original members of the advisory council," said Dough Reed, program director of the RTIP, "but he also was one of my mentors. I learned a lot from him during the year of the ‘Miracle Million’ as I was his racing secretary the year of the Arlington Park fire."
Joyce’s son Eugene, president and general manager of Turf Paradise racetrack in Arizona, remarked, "The success of the RTIP meant so much to my father. He thoroughly enjoyed mentoring the students and giving back to an industry that was very good to him. The entire Joyce family is grateful that the University of Arizona has honored our request to name a scholarship in his memory."
A New York lawyer, Joyce was instrumental in developing the country’s first Off-track betting operations in the early ‘60s. He later became involved with the Madison Square Garden company in the purchase of Arlington Park. Subsequently, he and partners bought the facility, later selling it to Richard Duchossois.
Joyce was well-known within the Las Vegas gaming community.
In 1980, while at Arlington Park, Joyce worked with Chuck Di Rocco, the late publisher of GamingToday, to provide the first full-card simulcast racing program to the Plaza Hotel/Casino in downtown Las Vegas, beginning the groundwork for the transformation of horse race wagering in casinos from the old-time audio recreation of race results to what currently takes place with racing simulcasts from tracks around the country.
University officials said the Joyce Scholarship will be awarded to a student based on academics, participation in the racing industry and RTIP program activities.