Zia Park Opens 56-Day Meet on Saturday

The track's schedule features 13 Quarter Horse stakes.

New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association

Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico, opens its 2016 meet on Saturday.

Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico, will open its 56-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet with an 11-race program on Saturday. Post time for the first race is set for 12:15 p.m. (MDT).

Zia Park’s opening-day card will be headlined by the 350-yard, $40,500 Socorro County Dash, an open-condition allowance race for New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses. The Socorro County Dash has drawn an overflow field of 11, including one also-eligible entry, topped by multiple graded stakes winner Cinco Menudos and graded stakes winners Jess Got Issues and Seeyalateralligator.

The first stakes race of the Zia Park meet, the 6-furlong, $50,000 Premiere Cup Handicap, has drawn 15 nominations, topped by Rachel Marzak’s Alsono and O’zbekiston Racing’s Looks To Spare. Alsono has won his last four outs, all at the 870-yard distance, and Looks To Spare ran third, one length behind winner Effinex, in last year’s 1 1/8-mile, $500,000 Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Entries for the Premiere Cup Handicap will be drawn on Thursday. The Premiere Cup is one of 32 stakes races -- 19 for Thoroughbreds and 13 for Quarter Horses -- on Zia Park’s 2016 schedule. The track’s Quarter Horse stakes schedule features 11 graded stakes, topped by the 400-yard, $300,000-est. Hobbs America Futurity (G2) on October 9; the 440-yard, $150,000 Zia Park Championship (G1) on November 23; and the 440-yard, $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1) on December 4.

Zia Park’s schedule is also enhanced by two signature days, New Mexico Cup Day on October 30 and Land of Enchantment Day on the day before Thanksgiving, November 23. New Mexico Cup Day features 12 stakes restricted to state-breds -- eight for Thoroughbreds and four for Quarter Horses. New Mexico Cup Day is the richest state- or province-bred day of racing in North America, as last year more than $2 million purses were paid for 12 races.

Land of Enchantment Day features nine stakes -- six for Thoroughbreds and three for Quarter Horses -- headlined by the 1 1/16-mile, $300,000 Zia Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, and the 1 1/16-mile, $200,000 Zia Park Derby for 3-year-olds. Land of Enchantment Day traditionally boasts the meet’s largest wagering handle.

Click here for a complete stakes schedule.

Zia Park will offer live racing on a Saturday-through-Tuesday schedule through closing day, December 13. The only exception to this schedule will be Thanksgiving week, when racing will be held on Wednesday, November 23, but not on Tuesday, November 22. Post time for the first race every day will be 12:15.

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