RUIDOSO DOWNS, N.M. (AP) The sale of a southern New Mexico racetrack and casino that plays host to one of the nation’s most prestigious quarter-horse races has been finalized.
Officials at Ruidoso Downs announced the closure of the sale as state gaming regulators on Friday approved license applications for the new owners.
The ownership group – All American Ruidoso Downs LLC – is made up of former telecommunications executive Stan Sigman, insurance broker John Andreini, Narciso ”Chicho” Flores and former American Quarter Horse Association president Johnny Trotter. The four are all horse owners and breeders.
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Former owner R.D. Hubbard first announced the proposed sale last spring. He had been an owner of the track since 1988 and became sole owner in 2016.
The purchase price was not disclosed, but the new owners say they will continue with state-of-the-art testing for illegal substances and enhanced security measures to defend against cheating and ensure there’s a level playing field for all horses, trainers and owners.
”Our goal is to make Ruidoso Downs a model for the horse racing industry,” track general manager Jeff True said in a statement. ”It is imperative that Ruidoso Downs raise our standards of racing above reproach. If someone wants to break the rules, Ruidoso is not for them.”
Ruidoso has been hosting the annual All American Futurity every Labor Day going back decades. In 1978, it became the world’s first $1 million horse race. In 2015, the purse reached $3 million, making it the largest for any 2-year-old horse race in the world.
The All American also launched the fortunes of trainer Jack Brooks and jockey Jacky Martin, who teamed up to win with Moon Lark. They have the most All American victories.
The new owners are planning to renovate the Billy The Kid Casino while the barn area, grandstand and track property will see some basic infrastructure improvements.