RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mexico (June 28, 2014) – Horseracing in New Mexico was honored and celebrated when the 2014 class was inducted into the Ruidoso Downs’ Racehorse Hall of Fame on Friday night during a banquet in the track’s All American Turf Club.
The inductees are all icons in New Mexico racing: owner/breeders Punch and Suzanne Jones, jockey/trainer Cliff Lambert, trainer Carl Draper and the thoroughbred Rocky Gulch.
The Jones’ breeding operation is based west of Tatum and their quarter horse racehorses descend from the thoroughbred mare Maroon. They are now successfully racing the seventh generation of the famed mare. They are the only couple to be separately inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.
Lambert started as a highly successful jockey and became the all-time winningest trainer on the New Mexico circuit. His riding career was highlighted by winning the first All American Futurity in 1959 aboard Galobar. He was also a leading rider on the California circuit. Then, as a trainer, he conditioned the thoroughbred Bold Ego to five wins from five starts in New Mexico as a two year-old. While Lambert tended to his barn in New Mexico, Bold Ego went on to finish second in The Preakness while being trained by hall of famer Jack Van Berg.
Draper has trained two All American Futurity winners – DM Shicago and Heartswideopen –and has won 11 open Grade 1 stakes at Ruidoso Downs. DM Shicago went on to win the Ruidoso, Rainbow and All American derbies while Heartswideopen came back to win the Ruidoso and Rainbow derbies before finishing second in the All American Derby.
Rocky Gulch was the first New Mexico-bred thoroughbred to earn $1 million. The Larry Teague-owned gelding won 18 of 38 starts, including 14 stakes wins against New Mexico-breds. The gelding won all of his five starts at Ruidoso Downs, including setting a five-furlong track record as a two-year-old while winning the Rio Grande Senor Futurity.
The Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame is open during racing hours and admission is free with Turf Club admission.