New Era at Albuquerque Downs and 20-1 Longshot Wins Opening Night Feature Race
Albuquerque Downs opened its 60-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet last Saturday. The difference is the track now runs races at night on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with first race post time at 6:05 MDT.
“You can get here after work now instead of wrapping up about 5:30, 6 o’clock, you’re going to have the option of watching a full race card,” said Marketing Director Brian Roybal. “You’ll be a little bit cooler, the shadows will be hitting right, and you’re not going to have to worry about the 90 degree temperatures on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.”
The June 25 opening night provided a longshot winner in the $60,000 feature O.D. McDonald Stakes. The seven furlong race for three year olds and up saw Citizen Geller stalk the leader Not My Note stride for stride the entire way into the stretch before passing him to get up at the wire. Citizen Geller paid $42.00, $16.80 and $6.60 across the board while Not My Note returned $9.40 and $5.20 with the $2 exact hitting for $481.
Patrons visiting Albuquerque Downs were treated to new improvements at the track that includes a completely renovated open-air grandstand with unobstructed views of the Sandia Mountains. The infield tote board has been renovated with easy-to-read LED lighting and is adjoined by a 48-foot Jumbotron.
All restrooms have been upgraded along with the food and beverage stands throughout the facility. The paddock area on the north end of the facility has also been renovated and features a patio area with tables and a grassy terraced viewing area.
“Even though our facility is located on state property (Expo New Mexico), not one penny of state money was used on any of these improvements,” said Albuquerque Downs director of racing Don Cook.
Albuquerque’s average field size opening weekend was 9.5 on Saturday, 8.8 on Sunday, and 8.3 on Monday. Admission to the popular first-floor VIP room open Thursday – Sunday is $5. The top floor features a Turf Club with full bar and menu service (admission, $10 per person) and Jockey Club with a full bar and upscale menu service (admission by membership only).
Sunday races will still take place during the day, starting at 1:30. In addition to the regularly scheduled nights, there will additional races after dark July 4 and Sept. 12.