When the Ruidoso Downs’ summer season starts with the first of two days of trials to the Grade 1, $1-million Ruidoso Futurity on May 26, it signals another summer of the finest quarter horses and competitive thoroughbred racing.
The quality of racing at Ruidoso Downs is evident. Seven of the 10 2016 champions announced by the American Quarter Horse Association raced at Ruidoso Downs. There will be seven Grade 1 races for quarter horses offered this summer at the mountain track.
The iconic Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity is the season’s ultimate event and is always held on Labor Day, closing day of the summer season. It offers the largest purse in quarter horse racing.
Last year’s All American Futurity winner, Charles Robinson’s Imperial Eagle, is expected to return to Ruidoso Downs after being named the 2016 champion two-year-old and champion two-year-old gelding. He will be pointing to the three Grade 1 derbies — the Ruidoso Derby (June 10), the Rainbow Derby (July 22) and the All American Derby (September 3).
The Grade 1, $1-million (est.) Ruidoso Futurity (June 11) and the Grade 1, $1-million Rainbow Futurity (July 23) join the All American Futurity as the premier races for two-year-olds.
Two-year-old thoroughbreds also have ample stakes opportunities. They will aim at the $175,000 (est.) Mountain Top New Mexico-bred Thoroughbred Futurity (June 24), the $175,000 (est.) Rio Grande Senorita Futurity (September 3) and the $175,000 (est.) Rio Grande Senor Futurity (September 4).
Older New Mexico-bred thoroughbreds will target the $50,000 Ruidoso Championship Handicap (September 4).
New Mexico-bred racing is celebrated during the Zia Festival on July 29-30. There will be 12 stakes races for state-breds over the two days and an estimated $1-million in purses. The largest purse is awarded in the $400,000 (est.) Zia Futurity (July 30) for quarter horses.
The complete stakes schedule is available at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/526ea715e4b0e93bbdee1f56/t/588bc5ab9f74561e5f6430b3/1485555142993/2017+STAKES+CALENDAR.pdf. You may cut and paste this address into your browser.
For complete Ruidoso Downs’ information, go to www.raceruidoso.com, visit the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino Facebook page and follow the Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) on Twitter.