Handle Rises at Ruidoso Downs

The track's first year under new ownership was deemed a success.

Edited press release

Ruidoso Downs ended its 2018 season on September 3 with increases in on- and off-track handle.

The first season of racing at Ruidoso Downs under the ownership of All American Ruidoso Downs LLC has been deemed a tremendous success. 

“Our first season was gratifying to the extent we made some policy choices and some investments that fans and horsemen responded to favorably,” said track president and general manager Jeff True. 

The improvements included a new roof on the main building, a new corporate network, improved security elements and practices, new surveillance room, 100 new machines on the casino floor, and the operational and promotional improvements all combined to build the business. 

Total handle for the 2018 summer meeting of 47 days compared to the 2017 meeting of 52 days was $26.4 million versus $24.0 million, an increase of 10 percent.  On-track handle rose 4 percent to $10.2 million, and total out-of-state handle on Ruidoso racing was up 24 percent to $12.3 million. Daily average handle was up 25 percent to $499,981 per day, and the casino showed an 8 percent increase in coin-in versus the same period last year.

Ruidoso Downs increased purses 10 percent during the second week of the season. Also, due to increased purse revenues, $90,000 was added in stakes and overnight races during the last few weeks of the meet.

On the Quarter Horse racing side, Valeriano Racing Stables and Melvin Neugebauer were the meet's leading owners with six wins each. Ricky Ramirez led all jockeys with 38 wins, and Blane Wood and Wes Giles tied atop the trainer standings with 32 wins apiece.

Ruidoso Downs' 2019 meet will start on May 10, two weeks earlier than usual. The 17-week, 54-day season will run through Labor Day, September 2.

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