RUIDOSO DOWNS, NM – March 19, 2021 – Ruidoso Downs Race Track kicks off its summer racing season over Memorial Day Weekend when live racing begins on Friday, May 28. The 2021 season spans 15 weeks for a total of 47 days of live Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing. Race days are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and include Monday, May 31 and Monday, September 6.
The $8 million Triple Crown program at Ruidoso Downs will once again be the focal point of the summer racing program. Those signature events include the $1,000,000 Ruidoso Futurity and the $750,000 Ruidoso Derby on June 12-13; the $1,000,000 Rainbow Futurity, the $500,000 Rainbow Derby and the $350,000 Rainbow Oaks on July 24-25; and the famous $3,000,000 All American Futurity, the $700,000 All American Derby and the $350,000 All American Oaks on September 5-6.
The stakes schedule for Quarter Horses continues to grow in 2021 with the addition of the $150,000 Mountain Top Derby for 3-year-olds and the $25,000 Jess Burner Stakes for 4-year-olds-and-up. The Thoroughbred racing program continues to offer rich opportunities with the Mountain Top Futurities and a strong schedule of Zia Festival races for New Mexico-breds in late July. The $50,000 First Lady Stakes for fillies and mares will run on July 4th Weekend.
“Running the 2020 season with 10% occupancy was a challenge, and we are eager to welcome fans back to Ruidoso Downs this summer,” said Jeff True, President and General Manager of Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino. “It has been a rough year for everyone, and we are excited to have our horsemen, horses and fans back on the mountain.”
Barns are set to open on April 15, and the track surface will open for training on April 19. Training races for unraced 2-year-olds are currently scheduled to be held May 3-5.
There will be new and familiar faces alike at Ruidoso Downs this summer as 2020 leading Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred trainers are expected to return including Blane Wood, trainer of 2020 All American Futurity winner and AQHA World Champion Whistle Stop Café, Wes Giles, Michael Joiner, Casey Lambert, and Todd Fincher. In addition, there will be some new faces on the backside as 2019 AQHA champion trainer Chris O’Dell moves his stable from Los Alamitos to Ruidoso Downs along with the stable of Dick “Flaco” Cappellucci.
During the off-season, Ruidoso Downs also invested in its on-track technology by signing a long-term tote services agreement with AmTote International; a product of 1/ST Technology and one of horse racing’s largest and most innovative racing and gaming technology companies. The agreement will provide new technology to the track and enhance the betting experience for patrons.
The new technology includes the V3000e self-serve terminals which offer users a rich graphic interface, and the F3000e teller and self-serve convertible terminal. In addition, mobile betting through AmTote’s MBet platform will also be deployed at Ruidoso. The infield and indoor tote boards will also be upgraded with new LED indication.
1/ST Technology’s world-class products – AmTote, Xpressbet, 1/ST BET, XB SELECT, XB NET, PariMAX, and Betmix – are among the most trusted names in gaming, technology, and horse racing. AmTote technology and services host the majority of race track operators in North America and are currently in operation at Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park, Aqueduct, and Woodbine, among many others, and process more than $15 billion in parimutuel and fixed odds wagering around the world each year.
“AmTote is a company I am very familiar with and have a great deal of confidence in. The new technology will accrue to the benefit of the New Mexico racing industry for years to come,” said Jeff True, President and General Manager of Ruidoso Downs Race Track. “Ruidoso Downs leads the state and the region in live, on-track attendance and handle, so betting technology matters to us.”
According to Keith Johnson of AmTote: “We are proud to be associated with the entire team at Ruidoso Downs and to now be hosting yet another of the world’s major racing events with the world’s richest quarter horse race, the All American Futurity, for many years to come.”
Ruidoso Downs Race Track also implemented a new online ticketing system that is designed to make ticket purchasing and seat selection easier for customers. Available season ticket tables are on sale at RaceRuidoso.com or by calling the box office at 575-378-4140. Individual race day tickets go on sale April 19 (with the exception of Labor Day Weekend tickets which will go on sale at a later date).
Ruidoso Downs will once again host the Ruidoso Handicapping Challenge, a qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship, on August 14. The winner of that contest will ultimately be awarded a seat in the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas. Last year’s contest generated a great deal of interest and drew talented handicappers to Ruidoso Downs even during the pandemic.
Ruidoso Downs will offer a series of promotional weekends which will be announced soon on the RaceRuidoso.com website.
The All American Ruidoso Horse Sales continue to be the richest marketplace for American Quarter Horses. In 2021, the Select Yearling Sale will again be conducted on Labor Day Weekend. The New Mexico-Bred Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred Yearling Sale and the Foal-in-Utero Sale will be held August 20-21 during All American Trials weekend. The 2020 Select Yearling Sale was a high point in the history of the sale as 400 yearlings averaged nearly $50,000 each.
Billy the Kid Casino is scheduled to reopen on Monday, March 22 after being closed by state mandate since March 16, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The casino, the Sports Bar, and the simulcasting operation will be open daily from 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM.
New Mexico still has a mask mandate in place and Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Billy the Kid Casino will continue to enforce that mandate along with encouraging other COVID-Safe Practices (CSPs) including social distancing and hand sanitizing. Both entities will be required to follow occupancy guidelines based on New Mexico’s Red to Green Framework.
For more information about the upcoming 2021 horse racing season at Ruidoso Downs Race Track, visit RaceRuidoso.com.