The continued strength in the older horse division at Ruidoso Downs includes New Mexico-breds with the 2015 Zia Derby up 42 percent through the most recent payment.
The Zia Derby projects to pay the all-time record purse of $170,000. The previous standard was $140,143 set in 2012.
“The Zia Derby purse is another example of how the strength and depth of our stakes program for older horses continues to have a positive impact on Ruidoso Downs and quarter horse racing,” said Ruidoso Downs’ general manager Shaun Hubbard.
“It also shows our dedication to the growth of New Mexico-bred racing. Of course, none of this happens without the owners’ and breeders’ participation.”
The record-setting Zia Derby joins the superlative numbers for the Grade 1 open derbies this summer at Ruidoso Downs. The All American Derby has a $2.3 million (est.) purse. The Rainbow Derby has a $1 million (est.) purse. The Ruidoso Derby has an $800,000 (est.) purse.
In conjunction with these derbies are three $100,000 stakes: the Mr Jess Perry, the Corona Cartel and the First Down Dash.
The All American Gold Cup will again have a $200,000 purse. It was raised from $40,000 to $200,000 last year and awarded Grade 1 status.
The Zia Derby offers one of the largest purses during Zia Festival weekend on July 25-26. The Zia Festival combines New Mexico-bred racing with a grandstand filled with vendors selling Southwestern wares. The Zia Festival weekend has grown into one of the most popular weekends of the summer season.
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