Downs at Albuquerque Releases Stakes Schedule

The track will offer Quarter Horse stakes purses of $1.3 million during its 2016 meet

Edited press release

The Downs at Albuquerque has released its 2016 stakes schedule.

The Downs at Albuquerque has released its eight-race American Quarter Horse stakes schedule for its 2016 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet, which opens June 25.

Approximately $1.3 million in Quarter Horse stakes purses will be on the line during the 60-day meet. The track's richest race for any breed, the inaugural running of the 400-yard, $350,000-estimated La Fiesta Futurity (R) for 2-year-olds, will be run on closing day, September 25.

Other Quarter Horse stakes highlights include the 400-yard, $250,000-estimated New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3) for state-bred 2-year-olds on September 24; the second running of the 440-yard, $250,000-guaranteed Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship on September 25; and the 400-yard, $200,000-estimated New Mexico State Fair Derby (RG3) for state-bred 3-year-olds on September 25.

Last year’s inaugural Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship was won by 2014 American Quarter Horse Association world champion JRC Callas First. The winner of this race earns a berth in this year’s 400-yard, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park.

In addition, The Downs will play host to a regional stakes in the AQHA’s Bank of America Racing Challenge program. The winner of the 870-yard, $50,000-added Zoetis Albuquerque Distance Challenge on July 24 will earn a starting berth in the October 29, $125,000 Zoetis Distance Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Racecourse in California.

The Downs will also offer a 12-race Thoroughbred stakes schedule worth approximately $1 million.

“We’re pleased with the quality and variety of our 2016 stakes schedule,” said Downs’ director of racing Don Cook, who added that he expects the track’s purse distribution to average approximately $170,000 a day during the 60-day season. “We think it’ll bring in the best Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses to race with us this summer.

“We’ve added $50,000 to the purse of our Fall Quarter Horse Championship and $25,000 to our Downs at Albuquerque Handicap for Thoroughbreds,” Cook said. “Our goal is to eventually get these races graded.”

The Downs at Albuquerque Racetrack and Casino is located in the heart of Albuquerque at Expo New Mexico, the home of the New Mexico State Fair. For more information, visit www.abqdowns.com and click on the “Racetrack” link at the top of the homepage.

DOWNS AT ALBUQUERQUE 2016 QUARTER HORSE STAKES SCHEDULE

(All purses noted list guaranteed value, unless otherwise indicated.)

July 24: Zoetis Albuquerque Distance Challenge Stakes (G3) (QH), 870 yards, $50,000-added.

August 28: First Moonflash Maturity (R) (QH), New Mexico-bred 4-year-olds & older, 440 yards, $150,000-estimated.

September 11: Balloon City Stakes (QH), 3-year-olds & older fillies and mares, 400 yards, $50,000.

September 18: Conquistador Stakes (QH), 3-year-olds, 350 yards, $50,000.

September 24: New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity (RG3) (QH), New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds, 400 yards, $250,000-estimated.

September 25: La Fiesta Futurity (QH), 2-year-olds, 400 yards, $350,000-estimated.

September 25: New Mexico State Fair Derby (RG3) (QH), New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds, 400 yards, $200,000-estimated.

September 25: Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship (QH), 3-year-olds & older, 440 yards, $250,000.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.