Ruidoso Hall of Fame

Ruidoso Hall of Fame

Ruidoso to induct six into its hall of Fame in 2024.

Danjer wins the 2021 All American Gold Cup

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Members of the All American Ruidoso Downs Foundation have selected inductees for the annual Ruidoso Downs Hall of Fame ceremony to be held on Thursday evening, June 27, 2024.

The inductees to be honored next summer include:

  • Horse: Danjer
  • Owner/Breeder: MJ Farms
  • Trainer: Mike Joiner
  • Jockey: Chris Zamora
  • Special Achievement: Billy G. Smith
  • Racing Official: Tom Dawson

The inductees will by honored at a dinner to be held that evening and attended by hundreds of racing industry officials, Hall of Fame members, friends and family. Tickets for the event will be available soon at

The ceremony will take place on the Thursday evening before weekend trials for the Grade-1 Rainbow Futurity, Rainbow Oaks and Rainbow Derby. The Ruidoso Downs Hall of Fame regularly honors people and animals that have made major impacts in the horse racing industry both nationwide and at Ruidoso Downs through the years.

Danjer was a  winner of 12 Grade 1 stakes races, won 22 career races and was the 2021 AQHA world champion, plus 2020 and 2021 AQHA champion aged horse and aged gelding. Danjer, sired by FDD Dynasty out of the mare Shez Jess Toxic by Take Off Jess, is currently third on a list of all-time leading money earnings with $2,499,432. Danjer died suddenly last summer of an aneurysm while in training for the All American Gold Cup for co-owner/trainer/breeder Dean Frey, who partnered on the horse with Pat Guthrie of Downtime Enterprises, and Billy G. Smith. 

MJ Farms is owned by Mac Murray and Dr. Janis Murray, the Albuquerque-based breeding farm is home to top-ranked New Mexico-bred sires Big Daddy Cartel and Eye Am King. The stallion farm has also owned or managed such major sires as Dash Ta Fame, Jesse James Jr and Woodbridge.

Major stakes winners from the MJ Farms breeding program include Astica, Alice K White, Big Daddy, Mister Riptide, Della De Ball, Wild Six and Kendall Jackson. MJ Farms has continually been a top producer of yearlings at the New Mexico and Ruidoso Select Sale for many years.
Mike Joiner is the winning trainer of the 2023 $3 million All American Futurity with Cowboys Gun Z, and has career earnings of over $30 million. 

Joiner has been training horses at Ruidoso Downs since the 1970s having won every major stakes event at least once through the years. Top horses that have hailed from the Joiner barn include Flash and Roll, Bodacious Eagle, FDD Dynasty, First Valiant Sign among many other champions and stakes winners.

Chris Zamora was considered one of the top New Mexico-based jockeys for more than 20 years, and logged more than 2,000 wins in a riding career that stretched from the late 1980s to 2011. 

Zamora won 12 riding titles during his riding career at Albuquerque Downs, Ruidoso Downs and Santa Fe Downs. He was the nation’s leading quarter horse rider in money earned in 1994, and has career quarter horse earnings of $11.4 million. Some of his top mounts included quarter horses such as Noblesse Six, Blazin N Shakin, Namehimastreaker, Rabbit Revival, Kama Shootin and Chicks Are Streakin.
Zamora also notched 1,027 Thoroughbred victories during his career with earnings of $6 million.

Billy G. Smith is the current New Mexico Racing Commissioner has been involved in the state’s racing industry as an owner and breeder since the late 1970s. Smith has also served on AQHA committees in several different capacities.

Smith is best-known for his involvement in Danjer and leading sire FDD Dynasty. Other major stakes winners owned or co-owned by Smith include Kates Dynasty, Terrific Synergy and Breakin Rules. Smith continues to manage the FDD Dynasty Syndicate that has seen the stallion’s progeny earn more than $36 million.

Tom Dawson has been a broadcasting host for 50 years, and has been the primary voice of Quarter Horse racing’s major televised racing events since the 1970s. 

Dawson’s career started as racing secretary at Ruidoso Downs, Sunland Park and Albuquerque Downs in the early 1970s.  He appeared as an analyst during the first live broadcast of the All American Futurity in 1974, and has appeared on various horse racing broadcasts on ESPN, NBC, Fox Sports, RIDE TV and the Cowboy Channel.

Dawson continues to be the host of the Cowboy Channel’s coverage of triple crown racing at Ruidoso Downs, as well as top quarter horse industry races at Remington Park, Lone Star Park and Albuquerque Downs. 

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