Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Enhanced by a new 65,000-square foot casino, The Downs at Albuquerque opens its 57-day race meet with a nine-race program on Friday. Post time for the first race is set for 2:30 p.m. (MDT).
The Downs' opening-day feature race, an 870-yard, $14,000 open-condition allowance race, has drawn a full field of eight. The likely favorite, George and Judy Weldon's Jess A Traffic Jam, is coming off of a neck victory in the 870-yard, $35,000 Marathon Handicap at SunRay Park on May 5.
Saturday's 350-yard, $25,000 O.B. Cockerell Handicap, the meet's first stakes, has attracted a full field of 10, including 125-pound highweight Jump Down Azoom. A 4-year-old gelding by Azoom racing for Crowson Racing and trained by Victor Rodriguez-Flores, Jump Down Azoom has earned $52,276 from five starts this year, and his three wins include a half-length victory in the 400-yard, $35,000 La Plata Stakes (G3) at SunRay Park in Farmington on May 11.
The complete lineup for the O.B. Cockerell, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments – Money Hungry Cartel (Albert Medrano, 122), Unashamed (Omar Reyes, 124), Binky Beduino (Porfirio Cano, 120), Jumpn Gun (Macario Rodriguez, 124), Sweetened Vanilla (Isaias Cardenas, 121), Rockin (Raul Gutierrez, 123), Buildemhigh (Salvador Martinez, 121), Pajarita Sita (Tanner Thedford, 123), Jump Down Azoom (Esgar Ramirez, 125), and This Is Da One (Flavio Lozano, 120).
This year's Downs at Albuquerque stakes schedule features 33 races – 19 for Thoroughbreds and 14 for Quarter Horses – worth approximately $1.2 million in purses. The meet includes a 17-day New Mexico State Fair racing season in September.
The track's new casino features 700 slot machines – an increase from the 300 offered at the old casino in the grandstand – and a 200-seat food court and a 50-seat gourmet restaurant called The Crown Room. Also, casino visitors can watch the live racing action on the track from the facility's First Turn Lounge, which features 20 beer taps for domestic, imported, craft and microbrew beers and ales, as well as wines and cocktails.
For the most part, live racing at The Downs will take place on a Wednesday and Friday-through-Sunday schedule. The only exception to this schedule will be during the New Mexico State Fair, when racing will be presented every day from September 11-22.
All season, post time for the first race will be 1:30 p.m. on weekends and 2:30 p.m. on weekdays. For more information on the meet, visit the track's website at www.abqdowns.com.