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New look greets Fans for Ruidoso opening


May 19, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Ruiodoso Downs, New Mex. (May 18) – The 60th anniversary season at Ruidoso Downs commences on Friday, May 26 with a new look stretching from the track, to the casino and to the grandstand.

The 60-date summer racing season runs through September 4 on a Thursday through Sunday schedule after opening weekend, which includes a Memorial Day program. There are additional programs on May 29, July 3, July 4 and September 4. First post time is 1:00 p.m., except on some futurity-trial days.

The racing surface was completely renovated before horses stepped on the track in late April. Renowned racing-surface consultant Dennis Moore oversaw the project that added 3,000 cubic yards of screened material to the Ruidoso Downs’ 7/8ths-mile Thoroughbred oval and the 550-yard Quarter Horse chute. Also, existing track material was finely screened to remove any impurities.

“We’ve received a lot of positive comments from horsemen on the racing surface,” said director of racing Ryan Sherman. “We’re really pleased.”

The extensively renovated casino has new games, carpet, wall coverings and lights. Billy’s Race Book has also been completely redesigned and renovated with over 50 television monitors, including the largest screen in Lincoln County.

Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill is the hottest new spot for nightlife in Lincoln County. The recently opened venue will offer live entertainment, race coverage and exciting menu.

The Racehorse Hall of Fame has moved from the Hubbard Museum of the American West to Ruidoso Downs with easy access for fans. The collection includes many unique pieces of memorabilia that will excite longtime racing fans and intrigue newcomers to the sport of horseracing. Included in the exhibits are the saddle cloths worn by Special Effort to his Triple Crown victories, Easy Jet’s All American Futurity trophy and memorabilia from Ruidoso Derby Triple Crown winner and 2005 World Champion DM Shicago.

Opening day at Ruidoso Downs will be filled with the trials to the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity. West Texas Futurity winner Jess Destined is eligible to compete for trainer Carl Draper, who conditioned Ruidoso fan favorite DM Shicago.

Saturday’s card will be highlighted by the trials to the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby. Leading Spirit, winner of last summer’s Ruidoso Futurity and Rainbow Futurity, is expected to compete after his owners pay a $25,000 supplemental fee to enter the trials. His connections will make a final decision at entry time on Wednesday. Owned by Barry Thompson and Dan and Jolene Urschel, Leading Spirit was the 2005 champion 2-year-old gelding and has earned $694,680.