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Racing to return to Ruidoso Downs on July 4

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RUIDOSO NEWS REPORT

Ruidoso Downs Race Track plans to resume horse racing with a four-day weekend starting Independence Day.

After floodwaters breached the track’s turn last Saturday, the last two races were canceled. Additional rains postponed racing Sunday and Monday, June 30 and July 1.

Workers have spent several days getting the track ready and, barring additional rains or other unforeseen events, racing will resume Thursday, July 4.

The rescheduling of trials for the Grade-1 $800,000 Rainbow Derby and estimated $482,000 Rainbow Oaks Presented by Rolling Still Vodka and Ponderosa Whiskey will be this Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7, pending approval by the New Mexico Racing Commission.

The Derby and Oaks trials were postponed June 30.

Ruidoso Downs General Manager Rick Baugh met with horsemen Monday, July 1, to hear their input about the proposed rescheduling of the trials, and awaited word from the racing commission through Tuesday.

“We are doing everything in our power to repair the damage to the race track and we’re in hopes that we can run the Derby and Oaks trials this weekend and get back on schedule,” Baugh said.

He added the quarter horse track could be available for quarter horse training as early as Wednesday morning. Baugh said the thoroughbred track’s six-furlong chute has been severely damaged and it might be considerably longer before the track can continue with thoroughbred training and racing.

“The quarter horse portion of our race track is unscathed from the floods,” Baugh said. “The first turn of the thoroughbred track sustained the flood damage and we are working as fast as we can to make those necessary repairs.”

Meanwhile, crews are using excavators to make the river channel much wider and deeper as it goes through the track’s property in the event of further floodwaters.
“We remain confident that we’re going to be able to race this weekend,” Baugh said. “We are dealing with never-before seen flooding within this community, so we appreciate the support of our horsemen and racing industry as we all work to get through this crisis together.”

Post time is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, July 4, and 12:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 5-7. The latest information about the racing season can be found at www.raceruidoso.com.

On the last full day of racing, Friday, June 28, Favorite Fire V, a two-year-old filly in just her second career start, broke on top and held on by a neck to win the eighth trial race and qualify for the $1 million Rainbow Futurity.

“She’s such a small filly that I was concerned she might get caught,” jockey Francisco Calderon said. “She left running and really kept her head down and did a nice job.”

The filly ran the 400-yards in 19.480 seconds just in front of Ohana Spirit who also qualified for the final to be run on Sunday, July 14. Favorite Fire V is owned by Sammy Valeriano and trained by Heath Taylor. It was a maiden win for the filly.

On Saturday, FDD Dreams and jockey Luis Martinez broke sharply and romped home to a three-and-a-half length victory in the seventh trial race to qualify with the fastest time of the day, 19.356 seconds for 400-yards.

“It’s special when these horses are raised on your ranch and then succeed on the race track,” owner Javier Rodriguez said. The gelding is a homebred from the La Feliz Montana Ranch.

The gelding is sired by FDD Dynasty out of the mare Treasured Dreams by Apolitical Jess.

The final two races Saturday, June 29, were canceled due to flooding on the race track from the burn scars in the Ruidoso area. Those horses will remain eligible for the Rainbow Derby next season and their nomination entry fees will be refunded.

Hezgothelook Z, winner of the $1 Million Ruidoso Futurity, qualified as the second-fastest on Saturday. The gelding still has the chance at winning the Triple Crown with victories in the Rainbow final and All American Futurity.

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