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                                  Ruidoso Downs President and General Manager Jeff True said the new races should energize the incentives for Quarter Horse fillies.
                  Jeff True
Diamonds, La Pacifica, Ivan Ashment, California Breeders Freshman Fillies, RG3 California Breeders Matron, California Breeders’ Debutante along with several overnight handicaps, allowances and claimers. The combined purses for just the first two come to $225,000.
The Los Alamitos Oaks is a significant addition.
What about mares who may have three or four three-year-old fillies in 2020? Are there any restrictions?
“No,” answered True. “There are no limits. They can all run if that’s what their owners want to do.”
Running a racetrack doesn’t happen just on race days. For one thing, it’s a constant evaluation process.
This year, Ruidoso opened two weeks earlier than usual. Was that a good decision?
“We don’t know yet,” answered True, “because we haven’t had enough time to evaluate everything. There are so many elements to consider.
“For one thing, Ruidoso is different from other New Mexico tracks in that we run
65 percent Quarter Horses and 35 percent Thoroughbreds. The other tracks are just the opposite. That means they don’t have the same demands as we do.
“We also have some difficult overlap with SunRay and Albuquerque, which means the actual number of available horses can be spread too thin to be profitable. That same horse
population is what translates into handle. In other words, horses spread too thin usually means five- and six-horse fields, which kills handle. Bad cards just don’t attract a crowd.
“Another thing some people don’t realize is that racing drives the casino and not vice-versa. But, at the same time, that casino revenue definitely helps to fuel racing. Ruidoso is this little town sitting on top of a mountain. The other tracks do five or six times what we do in casino revenue.
“That handle accounts for a lot of things – not just purses. We’ve had a terrible drug stigma here, but we’ve been much stronger in our enforcement of the rules. We’ve also developed a much better understanding of the problem, and we feel confident we’re working in the right direction.
“One of the things handle accounts for is the amount of money we can spend on drug testing, which is a very important reason for wanting handle as high as possible.
“We have some very good things happening for us right now. First, there’s a new spirit of cooperation between the tracks in the state. Second, the three owners of Ruidoso Downs all have game. Their focus is to make everything about this track work at the highest possible level. They also look beyond Ruidoso Downs at the overall industry.
“They’re not afraid to try new things.... things that no one else has tried. Some things work and other things don’t, but you can’t know which is which until you try.”
Right now, it appears the seeds of the new Oaks program are set to flourish.
Dr. Ed Allred liked what Ruidoso was doing with
their filly program and followed up by changing the name of the La Primera Del Ano Derby to the Los Alamitos Oaks for 3-year-old fillies with a projected purse of over $400,000.
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