Page 26 - New Mexico Summer 2021
P. 26

                 Excitement Returns to the Mountain with a New Racing Secretary by Krista Anderson
  The Ruidoso Downs Racetrack & Casino 2021 race meet is on its way bringing new horses, new excitement, and new Racing Secretary Jamie Zamora.
I had a quick chance to meet with Jamie dur- ing her busy schedule of opening weekend double entries coming to a close, entailing the entry of approximately 300 horses for opening day (during an unprecedented year of change to New Mexico’s racing circuit). I was immediately aware of her important, hectic, and challenging role. Jamie’s ability to effectively multitask with clear-sighted objectiveness was witnessed firsthand as problem, after inquiry, after phone call was answered and addressed with class and accomplishment.
Jamie, born in California, moved to Raton, New Mexico, as a young child where her father Leroy Tipton rode as a jockey at La Mesa Park which opened in 1946 and was the first horse racing facility to open in New Mexico. It is here that Jamie began learning the “reins” as she
worked in the grandstands before receiving her first job in the racing office. While still a sopho- more in high school, Andy Gillespie, who was the Racing Secretary at La Mesa Park during this time, gave Jamie her first role on the backside.
Jamie continued working in New Mexico’s horse racing industry and has served in many roles. Over the years, you would have found Jamie’s name next to the title of Agent, Trainer, and Owner in addition to her roles working in the racing office and with the New Mexico Racing Commission’s licensing department. Jamie contributes her ability to effectively navigate her role now with the fact that she has “started from the bottom” earning her a position of leadership and importance. “Working the front desk or taking entries is important. You may not know it, but working all the smaller jobs, even preparing the programs, gets you the knowl- edge you need when working the higher positions. All of our roles here are important.”
Maybe one of the most important roles of her life, besides being a wife, mother, and grand- mother, is that of a cancer survivor. Jamie is a breast cancer survivor of almost 15 years now, but can tell you, the effects of a monstrous disease still impact her thoughts daily and she has used this platform to help others in the same position. “I just woke up one day and said to myself, ‘I need to help others, I want to help others, and I can start here at the track.’” Over the last 10 years, Jamie began and organized, with others who supported her and her mission, the “Pink Days” or “Race to Whip Breast Cancer” days that are held at the New Mexico race meets each year, raising money which is either donated to local cancer charities and/
or used to facilitate mammograms to all licensed personnel and their families. Due to her hard work and the work of others that appreciate Jamie’s goals, they have raised almost $100,000 to save lives and fight this non-discriminating disease.
These attributes, along with the importance of Jamie’s position, place her with just a hand- ful of women in the country who have been appointed in an otherwise male dominated role as Racing Secretary, reminds me of this....
New Mexico racing was built and suc- cessfully ran as a family-oriented business. Family: not because you were by blood or
by a prestigious bloodline, but you were family because you shared the love of “The Race.” You shared something that was not for everyone. You were family because you were outside working in the shed rows, the horse- men’s kitchen, or the racing office. You were family because you could look over at your barn row neighbor in the rain, shine, wind
or snow and know that you shared the same goal, the same passion and the same love of horses and racing. You were family because you saw the fall and pain of friends around you. You understood the ups and downs; the loss of a beloved horse, or the cost of money on a “sure bet.” You were family because you were there for a fellow horseman during the loss of life, which is sometimes and unfor- tunately inevitable, while it is the “Sport of Kings,” it holds dangers at every turn.
Jamie brings back a time of family. She represents old school class. A class that cares about everyone big or small. She represents the possibility of positive change and that we can again remember that racing is a passion, and we share it together. The “backside fam- ily” can be a family again. That even if you are the biggest of the barns or the owner, or the trainer with just one horse, you have the same chance that we all do......Anybody can be a winner! New Mexico racing and Ruidoso Downs have a win with their new racing Secretary, Jamie Zamora.
  “I just woke up one day and said to myself, I need to help others, I want to help others,
and I can start here at the track.”
New Mexico Horse Breeder

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