An earlier opening day on Friday, May 10, and new stakes races added to the iconic stakes schedule welcome fans this summer at Ruidoso Downs.
The new stakes races are the estimated $100,000 Maiden Stakes for three through five-year-old quarter horses and the $45,000 Rita Danley Distaff for three-year-old and older New Mexico bred quarter horse fillies and mares. Returning to the Ruidoso Downs’ stakes lineup is the American Quarter Horse Association Regional Juvenile Challenge for two-year-old quarter horses.
The Maiden Stakes trials will be contested on opening day, May 10, with the 10-fastest qualifiers racing in the May 27 finals. The Rita Danley Distaff will be run on June 30. The AQHA Juvenile Challenge trials run on May 17 with the finals on June 2.
The new stakes races join the legendary Grade 1 triple crown races at Ruidoso Downs. Those signature events are the estimated $3,000,000 All American Futurity and $1,000,000 (est.) All American Derby (Sept.1-2), $1,000,000, Rainbow Futurity and $750,000 Rainbow Derby (July 20-21) along with the $1,000,000 Ruidoso Futurity and the $750,000 Ruidoso Derby (June 8-9).
“Our early, Mothers’ Day weekend opening has enabled us to add some key stakes races that we think will increase participation this summer,” Ruidoso Downs’ president and general manager Jeff True said. “Our signature quarter horse races and several of our thoroughbred races have shown significant increases in numbers, so we are looking forward to a great racing year.”
Ruidoso Downs offers a $2-million Triple Crown Futurity Bonus to the owners of a horse which sweeps all three futurities.Three-year-old quarter horses race for the $1-million Triple Crown Derby Bonus for any horse that wins the three Grade 1 derbies.
New Mexico-bred racing will be celebrated during the Zia Festival on July 27-28. The largest purse is offered in the $400,000 Zia Futurity. Zia weekend provides 11 stakes races carded over the two days.
The schedule for May is Friday, May 10, Ruidoso Maiden Stakes Trials; Friday, May 17, John Deere Juvenile Trials; Friday, May 24-25, Ruidoso QH Futurity Trails; Sunday, May 26, Ruidoso QH Derby Trials; Monday, MAy 27, Ruidoso Maiden Stakes Finals, estimated $100,000 purse; and Friday, May 31, Mountain Top New Mexico Breed QH Futurity Trials.
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