With new GM, Ruidoso Downs track gears up for season | KOB 4
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With new GM, Ruidoso Downs track gears up for season

Casey Torres
May 09, 2018 09:19 PM

RUIDOSO DOWNS, N.M. — Jockeys saddled up their horses at the Ruidoso Downs Race Track Wednesday morning to train 2-year-old horses for the upcoming 2018 season.

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Candy Ezzell kept her eyes on the track to see how her horse, Sister Sophia, did.

"These are the training races for the younger horses that have not had the opportunity to race yet. They have to have a certain number of works in before they can actually get out on the track and enter an official race," Ezzell said. "And this just helps them become more accustomed to breaking out of the gates with other horses."

Ezzell expects her horse to do well this season, but she's also excited about the new management at the track. Jeff True, general manager at the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino, has more than 30 years of experience in the horse racing business. 

True said he wants to keep the integrity of the sport, so he has beefed up security and is pushing for the horse owners' compliance.

He also wants the track to thrive. A new roof has been placed and more game slots can be found at Billy the Kid Casino, but he has more in mind.

"We've got a long-term view of this place and we want to start building the digital assets here in Ruidoso. We've put in a new corporate network, we've deployed a new website, we're integrating all of our social media," said True.

He said he also wants to provide a phone-app where bets can be made and the races can be monitored. 

True mentioned Ruidoso Downs hires about 500 people every year and 100 stay year-round. He wants to provide more jobs and he thinks the changes he's making can help reach that goal.

"Horse racing in New Mexico already supports 15,000 jobs. All five race tracks and 'racinos' in the state produce more than $500 million in annual economic impact, so we’re a big part of that," True said. "We’re a big part of this community."

The season kicks off on May 25. The last race will be on Labor Day. True said the public can also attend concerts he has lined up.

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Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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