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Stringent Out-Of-Competition Testing at Ruidoso Downs

Ty Wyant

           The stringent out-of-competition testing of 92 horses on June 3-4 at Ruidoso Downs is a major addition to the continual fight against people who aim to ruin racing’s integrity.

            Fundamentally, out-of-competition testing is the random testing at any time, at any place of any horse under New Mexico Racing Commission jurisdiction. me to be even more optimistic about racing’s future,” said Ruidoso Downs’ owner R.D. Hubb

            “I’ve been in racing for 50 years and proud to see positive results. This leads ard. “Racing needs this. In fact, racing has needed this kind of action for years. We’re not going to quit. There will be more actions to come.”

            During opening weekend – including the three days of trials to the Grade 1, $815,000 Ruidoso Derby and the Grade 1, $750,000 Ruidoso Futurity ‑ a total of 125 horses were “super tested” through the Kenneth L. Maddy Laboratory at the University of California at Davis.

             “This is the new normal,” Ruidoso Downs’ general manger Shaun Hubbard of the greatly increased testing.

            “I’m on the backside every day and it’s definitely a vast improvement. The whole strategy is coming together and we are seeing the results of all of the pro-active work,” Shaun Hubbard said.

            The actions have been wide ranging and continue. A multitude of video cameras were installed in the stalls and along the shed row of each qualifier, every eligible horse for each of the six Grade 1 futurities and derbies must be on the ground 10 days before the trials, no qualifier can leave the grounds between the trials and the finals, and there has been increased security personnel.

            These changes have been a team effort. In addition to Ruidoso Downs, the New Mexico Racing Commission, the American Quarter Horse Association, and the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, through executive director Dr. Dionne Benson, have been major players.

            Dennis Monroe is the new integrity liaison and “he’s always looking at the cameras through his iPad or smartphone. His phone is always ringing with questions from trainers and owners. He’s been a great addition to our team,” Shaun Hubbard said.

            “We want credibility, accountability and deterrence. Were not here to ruin careers. We, simply, want what’s right for the horse, horsemen, jockeys and our fans who have gotten this season off to an excellent start.”

            “These new actions and policies go hand-and-hand in tightening the noose around anyone who thinks they need not abide by the rules,” R.D. Hubbard said. “This is an example of the direction horse racing needs to go on the national level.”

            The six Grade 1 futurities and derbies at Ruidoso Downs offer combined estimated purses of $12.8 million, including the $4 million All American Triple Crown Bonus. The All American Futurity on Labor Day provides a $3 million purse, the largest of any two-year-old race in the world.

            “Like everything in life, it’s a work in progress,” Shaun Hubbard said. “Success is never final.”

 

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