angle-left Downs at Albuquerque

Downs at Albuquerque

Members of the track's jockey colony visit UNM Children's Hospital.

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Ten jockeys currently riding at The Downs at Albuquerque, accompanied by track chaplain Donald Stover, visited the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital in Albuquerque on Thursday, August 15.

The jockeys – Daniel Ruiz Amaya, Marcelo Barraza, Porfirio Cano, Don French, Reyes Gomez, Elvin Gonzalez, Erik Lujan, Albert Medrano, Paul Nieto, and Miguel Perez – visited with children in their rooms and distributed gifts, including signed goggles, winner’s circle photos, and stuffed animals.

“All of us at The Downs, including our jockeys, are part of the greater Albuquerque community, and this is part of giving back to the community,” said Stover, who organizes the annual visits along with Albuquerque Downs’ president of racing Don Cook and assistant general manager Beth McKinney. “The jockeys enjoy visiting with the children and their parents and guardians, and they enjoy talking about and answering questions about horse racing and the life of jockey. I think the children and their parents enjoy it too.”

On Saturday, August 17, one of the children visited by the jockeys attended the races at The Downs and posed for photos in the winner’s circle after one of the races.

“He was king for a day,” said Stover.

The University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital is the state’s only dedicated children’s hospital and academic medical center. Located in the Barbara & Bill Richardson Pavilion, the hospital cares for thousands of children from throughout the state and is New Mexico’s only Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

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