The New Ruidoso Downs

Ruidoso Downs hosts open house for media, community and local business owners.

Quarter Racing Journal

Jeff True, Ruidoso Downs Race Track track president and general manager, welcomed the media and community to the track's open house. (Andrea Caudill photo)

The new ownership of Ruidoso Downs Race Track has made several improvements to the facility. (Andrea Caudill photo)

Ruidoso Downs Race Track hosted an open house for media members, local officials and business owners on May 9. Jeff True, track president and general manager, spoke to the crowd and here are some of the highlights.

“We had a meeting here two-three weeks ago with many of the law enforcement agencies,” True said. “Our compliance program is very important to us. The enforcement agencies are going to be our partners here this summer in enforcing our policies in our compliance matters and we have a few exciting new announcements to come out in the next few days. Maybe it will raise an eyebrow.

“Our ownership group is made up of four gentlemen from the business world and the horse racing industry. They have been running and racing horses here for decades, but have come to this racetrack with the vision of rejuvenating it, with the vision of bringing it to a greater glory than it has experienced in the past. Ruidoso has always been the pinnacle of Quarter Horse racing and I’ve come to find out, obviously, in the past several months what a big part of this community it is.

“What our ownership wants to do is exceed those previous accomplishments. The owners are in it for the long haul. These guys are not here to buy a track, cash out and move on to the next business deal. They care about the business.

“What have we been doing? Infrastructure has been the theme. We felt like the facility under 30 years of Dee Hubbard’s ownership has thrived, the races have thrived and done well. Now the new ownership group wanted to build a platform on which we could build the business.

“So, infrastructure has become the theme of the winter. If you’ve been here in the past, you may have seen a few rain buckets on the floor. No offense to the prior ownership – they put three layers of roofing on this thing. By code, I’ve been told, we couldn’t put another layer on the roof. So, we stripped off the entire third-floor roof, replaced it with a new TPO roof at a significant price and that project is complete.

“We’ve continued with building the paddock, we’ve built a new receiving barn, we’ve added some security features – a new perimeter fence – some new railing on the inside, we’ve got a new surveillance room. The casino requires constant surveillance, so we have 65 cameras – closed-circuit TV cameras – watching the floor. So, there is a new surveillance room looking at that. We’ve got a person down there looking at those things.

“We have a new corporate network. So, all the telephones, computers, TVs and credit card machines are on a corporate network. We’ve installed a new network, a new IP backbone. We’re bringing a new 100-meg fiber circuit in the building. All that is designed to be a foundation for our digital platform going forward. We’ve deployed a new website. I’m really pleased with what the new website looks like. That’s just the tip of the iceberg and the most visible thing.

“We’ve also added account wagering and we’re going to in the future add mobile wagering, and we’ll have an app that will give you guidance to what is going on at the racetrack, Turf Club and the casino.

“I’m looking at ways to develop digital assets that will appeal to a younger crowd. We’re talking millennials. That’s who we are aiming this at. We’ve developed our social media platforms to be in sync and integrated with our website. So that fiber backbone and the access points will give folks access and will all be part and parcel with the way racing goes here at Ruidoso. Those digital assets, going forward, will be our focus and key and we think it will pay dividends.

“We’ve got a new chapel under construction. The Race Track Chaplaincy is one of the most important things that we do here. They minister to people on the backside and they minister to many of the town’s folk. We have quite a population of town’s folk who attend that church every year.

The new chapel at Ruidoso Downs is for the track family and the community. (Andrea Caudill photo)

“Why are we building a new church? It’s part of our security and compliance program. The racing industry has been under attack from people who would not like to follow the rules. Our group has been focused on compliance. When we look at the backside, that is supposed to be a secure area. Having church on Sunday (with the church on the backside) and all the unlicensed people coming in – we’re not worried about the church – but we had to create a secure environment. The Race Track Chaplaincy, the All American Ruidoso Downs Foundation and the ownership of this racetrack all jumped in and raised the funds.

“This community and this racetrack have a symbiotic relationship. We can’t do what we do here without what you do at your place of business or in your official office or in your activity of this area. We want to continue these partnerships. We relish the cooperation.”