Zia Cancer Day Raises Thousands
Race to Whip Cancer Day raises thousands for the cause.
October 28, 2014
A successful fundraising event, the crowning of state-bred champions, and big business numbers posted on and off-track highlighted a busy weekend at Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico.
“Race to Whip Cancer Day” on Saturday, October 25, featured all jockeys wearing pink silks as part of a full day of fundraising for breast cancer awareness and research efforts. Donations, which are still being collected, along with pink t-shirt and memorabilia sales, have generated $3,200 so far for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, according to the event’s organizer Jamie Zamora.
“It’s overwhelming,” Zamora said. “After getting a chance to take a breath after going through my diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, this became my way of power of having control over the disease. It’s so heartwarming to see that the event has taken on a life of its own, ” she added.
Zamora inaugurated Race to Whip Cancer Day at Zia Park in 2009 and has subsequently spread the event to other New Mexico racetracks. “I never dreamed it would turn into this,” Zamora said. “This was our 16th event, and it has grown by leaps and bounds.”
The next day, Sunday, October 26, a total of $753,444 was wagered on the twelve New Mexico Cup races, restricted to horses bred in the state, the second highest in the ten-year series behind the $1,019,999 recorded in 2008. This year’s New Mexico Cup handle was up 36 percent from 2013 and has helped raise Zia Park’s average daily handle for the 2014 season to $503,055, a 40-percent increase from the same point in 2013.
“There was a great cause and great racing on display at Zia Park this weekend,” said Zia Park Director of Racing Operations Fred Hutton. “We hope the momentum can carry through for the rest of the season,” he added.
Hutton is scheduled travel to the Breeders’ Cup in Southern California from this Wednesday to Saturday to prepare for the next marquee day of the season, Land of Enchantment Day on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 26. Hutton will meet with horsemen about potential horses that will ship to Zia for the day’s seven stakes races worth $1.1 million.
Land of Enchantment Day will be highlighted by the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, the $200,000 Zia Park Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, and the $150,000 Zia Park Championship for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles. Those races will conclude the season-long, nationwide $5 million Penn Gaming Racing Challenge launched this year. They will receive national television exposure through HRTV and TVG along with the Thanksgiving Eve Racing Festival that night at Zia Park’s sister racetrack, Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pennsylvania.
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