angle-left All American Futurity and Derby Tips for Labor Day Weekend

All American Futurity and Derby Tips for Labor Day Weekend

Five keys to planning your trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico.

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By Denis Blake for Quarter Racing Journal

The richest race in American Quarter Horse racing, the All American Futurity is one race that should be on every fan’s bucket list. (Don’t believe us? Read these 15 facts about the All American Futurity.) But it’s not just the All American Futurity you have to look forward to: Over All American weekend, or Labor Day weekend, you can also hit the All American Derby for 3-year-olds and All American Gold Cup for older horses, plus a horse sale and more.

The 2019 running of the All American Futurity in Ruidoso, New Mexico, is set for Labor Day, which is Monday, September 2. Here are five tips for planning your trip:

  • Get your race tickets and hotel reservations in advance. Labor Day weekend hotel rooms and reserved seating at the track can be hard to find at the last minute, so make those reservations well ahead of time. If the track is sold out, there is always free general admission available on race day without seating. 
  • Drive if you can, or check different flight options. If you live in New Mexico or a bordering state, by all means, make the scenic drive to Ruidoso. The highway mountain drive is not scary that time of year, just beautiful. While Ruidoso does have a small airport for private planes, the best options for commercial flights are Roswell, El Paso or Albuquerque, which all include the bonus of a mountain drive to your final destination. 
  • Arrive early to the track and stay late. Local police do a great job with traffic, and track officials are able to utilize just about every available inch of open space to park cars, but with some 25,000 people packing the track on Labor Day, traffic backups are unavoidable. So get there before noon to explore the track, and don’t make plans to leave right after the big race. (Hopefully, you’ll have a winning ticket to cash, anyway!)
  • Bring a jacket. It might be 100 degrees in Dallas on Labor Day, but Ruidoso can be 20 or more degrees cooler, due to the elevation. Even summer nights can be cool, and rain showers are fairly frequent, although they often pass as quickly as they appear. 
  • If you can’t make it to Ruidoso on Labor Day weekend, AQHA sponsors a live webcast of the All American Futurity, available at