Thursday, December 06, 2012
Zia Park in Hobbs ended its 2012 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse season on December 4, as the track recorded increases in total attendance and wagering handle on its live races.
According to figures compiled from Equibase.com, Zia Park drew 32,017 fans during the 54-day meet, 6.5 percent more than the 30,065 the track drew during its 50-day season in 2011. Zia Park's average daily attendance of 593 represented a 1.3-percent decrease from the 2011 average of 601.
A total of $21,317,991 was wagered on Zia Park's live races in 2012, a 7.5-percent increase over the 2011 handle of $19,833,518. The track's average daily handle on its live races was $394,778, a decrease of less than 1 percent from the average of $396,670 the previous season.
The bulk of the handle increase on Zia Park's live product came from a large rise in wagering from out-of-state outlets, which contributed $17,738,096 to the track's handle. This represented an 8.7-percent increase in the $16,319,853 handle from out-of-state sources in 2011.
Zia Park's on-track handle on its live races reached $2,343,623, which was 6.3 percent higher than the track's $2,343,623 handle in 2011. Wagering on Zia Park's live races from in-state sources dropped 7 percent, from $1,170,042 in 2011 to $1,087,788 in 2012.
“This has been another great meet at Zia Park, and it continued the tremendous growth the racetrack has had since it opened in 2005,” said track assistant general manager Rick Baugh. “In just eight years, Zia Park has become a destination for horses and horsemen from all around the country.”
One of the highlights of Zia Park's season was New Mexico Cup Day on October 28. On that day, the track presented 11 stakes races for New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. Purses totaled $1,896,551, once again making New Mexico Cup Day the richest one-day state-bred day of racing in the country.
Forest Mouse, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Teton Forest racing for Parnell Thomas and trained by Henry Dominguez, was the meet's leading Thoroughbred colt or gelding. Forest Mouse won two of his three races during the meet, including the 1 1/8-mile, $218,120 Zia Park Distance Championship Handicap on December 2.
Barbara M. Coleman's Hennesey Smash, a homebred 3-year-old filly by Roll Hennessy Roll, was Zia Park's top Thoroughbred filly or mare. Trained by Todd Fincher, the New Mexico-bred filly won all three of her races during the meet, including the 6-furlong, $140,600 New Mexico Cup Fillies Stakes (R) on October 28.
Zia Park's top Quarter Horse colt or gelding was Joel Tavarez's Prospect To The Top, a 4-year-old stallion by Coronas Prospect who won the 440-yard, $150,000 Zia Park Championship (G1) on December 2. Zia's top Quarter Horse filly or mare, the Corona Cartel filly A Dream To Remember, won the October 7, $299,843 Hobbs America Futurity (G2) for owners R.D. Hubbard, Johnny Cope, and Henry “Butch” Southway.
J. Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas, led all of Zia Park's Thoroughbred owners, as their runners won 18 races from 56 starts. Justin Evans won 38 races from 151 starters to lead all Thoroughbred trainers, and Miguel Hernandez led all Thoroughbred jockeys with 47 wins from 177 mounts.
Maegan Cavasos was Zia Park's leading Quarter Horse owner with nine wins. Mike Joiner led all Quarter Horse trainers with 17 wins – including the 400-yard, $293,550 New Mexico Cup Futurity (G2) with longshot Dashin Ace – and Esgar Ramirez was the meet's leading Quarter Horse jockey with 37 victories.
Milestones reached by jockeys at Zia Park were the 1,000th career win by Ry Eikleberry on November 19, and a track-record seven wins in one day by Alejandro Medellin on November 5.
In 2013, Zia Park will conduct a 56-day meet from September 7-December 3. For more information, visit the track's website at www.ziaparkcasino.com.