About Rillito Park Foundation

The Rillito Park Foundation (RPF) was formed in 2011 to provide a solution to an impasse between local soccer and horse racing interests that has stymied the future of Rillito Park for years. RPF believes that through a public/private partnership with Pima County Government, private donations and investments can enhance County assets to provide amenities the public deserves, while preserving Tucson’s heritage for future generations.

At over 90 acres located in the heart of Tucson, Rillito Park consists of Rillito Downs Race Track, the J. Rukin Jelks Stud Farm Historic Site, and eight Pima County Parks and Recreation soccer fields. The Park also serves as a festival site year-round. In 2012, Rillito Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Board of Directors & Liaisons

Ed Ackerley, Ed.D., Ex Officio, Director of Marketing – Since1976, Dr. Ackerley has been an executive with Ackerley Advertising. For over twenty-five years, he has taught at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. He has also held local and national leadership roles in the American Advertising Federation.

Ed Bloom, Director – Mr. Bloom is a thoroughbred owner, owning all or partnership of 70 horses from 1978 to present. He did consulting for the Oklahoma state racing commission on their formation in 1982, also on the benefits of pari-mutual racing advising on legislative approval and drafting rules of racing.

Roman Campuzano, Director – Mr. Campuzano is a VP for the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. A public servant whose portfolio includes Hispanic market outreach, and commercial insurance and business credit.  He is a former Trustee of the Tucson Presidio and Current Board member at the Arthritis Foundation.

Joe Castillo, Director – Mr. Castillo has been a successful thoroughbred and quarter horse owner, trainer, and breeder for over twenty years. He has consistently campaigned horses at Rillito Race Track. A longtime resident of Tucson, Castillo served as a teacher and school administrator at Pueblo High School in Tucson, Arizona.

Frank DeFazio, Director, Secretary/Treasurer – Mr. DeFazio is a businessman, former overseas staff member of the United States Defense Department and racetrack manager in Florida and Arizona. He is a member of Historic Rillito Racetrack, the nonprofit responsible for listing the Rillito Historic District on the National Register.

Jaime Dickman, Director  - Ms. Dickman is a marketing professional that specializes in brand programming, event planning, and corporate sponsorships. She is currently the Marketing Director for Hensley Beverage Company for Southern Arizona.

Roxanne Garcia, Director – Ms. Garcia currently is the Co-Executive Director for Heirloom Farmers Markets. She has 20 plus years in advertising, copywriting, marketing and project management.  She relocated to Tucson 14 years ago from New Mexico

Paul Horwitz, M.D., Director  Dr. Horwitz is originally from Chicago, where he obtained his Medical Degree. He practiced Ophthalmology in Tucson from 1985 until 2014. He was appointed to the Pima County Board of Health in 1993, and has served as President for the past eighteen years.

Douglas Reed, Director – Mr. Reed served as Program Director of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program for over 22 years. Prior to this position, he was a racing official and officer at major tracks, including Arlington, Oaklawn, Gulfstream, and Pimlico, among others. He continues as a consultant to the racing industry

Manish Shah, Director – Mr. Shah is the owner and operator of the Maya Tea Company. He serves as Co Executive Director of Heirloom Farmers Markets, with Tucson markets at Rillito Park, Trail Dust Town, and Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley. He sits on the editorial board of Fresh Cup Magazine.

Russell True, Director, Chairman  The True family has owned the White Stallion Guest Ranch in Tucson since 1965. Russell is former two-time president of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, former president of the Green Fields Country Day School Board of Trustees, and is a former board member of Visit Tucson.

Robert Villamana, Director  Mr. Villamana is with the Tucson law firm, Waterfall, Economidis, Caldwekk, Hanshaw & Villamana, P.C. He has a long history of working with Tucson charities, including six years on the board of the Boys & Girls Club, the advisory board of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Youth On Their Own.

Michael Weiss, Ex Officio, Liaison to the Racing Industry  From 1996 to 2010, Mr. Weiss served as GM of Beulah Race Track. He is a former Board member of Equibase and the Thoroughbred Racing Association. In 2006, the University of Arizona awarded him the John Goodman Alumni Award for his contribution to the racing industry.

Jaye H. Wells, President/CEO – Mr. Wells is a designer and developer whose portfolio includes historic preservation projects and museum work, as well as apparel design and manufacturing. He is a former Trustee and Treasurer of Green Fields Country Day School. He is also Board Chair of Heirloom Farmers’ Market, Inc.