Thursday, September 05, 2013
Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico, opens its 56-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet with a 12-race program on Saturday. Post time for the first race will be 12:15 p.m. (MDT).
Zia Park’s stakes schedule features 33 races -- 19 for Thoroughbreds and 14 for Quarter Horses -- worth a track-record $3.95 million in purse money. Topping the Thoroughbred portion of the stakes schedule will be the inaugural running of the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
The 1 1/16-mile Zia Park Oaks is slated for November 24, and headline what the track is calling Land of Enchantment Day. The other stakes on Land of Enchantment Day are the 1 1/16-mile, $200,000 Zia Park Derby for 3-year-olds, and the 1 1/8-mile, $150,000 Zia Park Distance Championship for 3-year-olds and older.
The Zia Park Quarter Horse stakes schedule consists of 14 races worth approximately $2.1 million in purse money. Topping the track’s schedule are two open Grade 1 races -- the 440-yard, $150,000 Zia Park Championship for 3-year-olds and older on November 23, and the 440-yard, $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship for 2-year-olds on December 1.
Past winners of the Zia Park Championship include AQHA champions Ketel Won and Noconi, both of whom were two-time winners. This year, for the first time in the stakes’ eight-year history, the winner of the Zia Park Championship will earn a berth in the December 14, $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos Racecourse in California.
Other open graded Quarter Horse stakes during the Zia Park meet include the 400-yard, $300,000-est. Hobbs America Futurity (G2) and 440-yard, $200,000-est. Hobbs America Derby (G2), both of which will be run on October 6; and the 400-yard, $55,000-added Lovington Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds and older on November 3.
New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds will be featured on New Mexico Cup Day, October 27. A total of 12 stakes will be run that day, with purses totaling nearly $2 million.
“We have the pieces in place for a remarkable season,” said Zia Park director of racing operations Fred Hutton. “The new Zia Park Oaks and Land of Enchantment Day will hopefully put Zia Park in the national spotlight. Looking at the stakes calendar around the country, we felt the 3-year-old filly division would benefit from a new, large-money race at that time of the year.”
In addition to the lucrative stakes schedule, Zia Park will unveil a new wagering menu this season. The Hobbs Hi-5 Jackpot will be a new daily wager offered on the final race, and it challenges bettors to select the first five finishers in order. If no ticket selects the top five, the pool will carry over to the next day.
“The Hobbs Hi-5 has the potential to offer some of the largest payouts we’ve ever seen at Zia Park,” Hutton said.
The minimum wager on the Hobbs Hi-5 Jackpot will be 50 cents. Also, the minimum on Daily Double and Pick-3 wagers has been lowered to 50 cents this year, and a Pick-4 on the first four races will be added to the Pick-4 that has been offered in past seasons on the last four four races.
Zia Park’s stakes schedule gets underway on Sunday, as a field of six has been entered in the 6-furlong, $100,000 Premier Cup Handicap. Alsvid, a 4-year-old gelding racing for James Rogers’ Black Hawk Stable and trained by Chris Hartman, is the 122-pound highweight.
Zia Park’s meet will run through December 3 and will feature live racing primarily on a Saturday-through-Tuesday schedule. Four Wednesday racing programs will take place from October 23-November 13.
For more information, including a complete stakes schedule and first condition book, visit Zia Park’s website at www.ziaparkcasino.com, or call the track at 1-888-ZIA-PARK.