Ruidoso Downs Racetrack — 6 Important things to Know

If you’re passionate about horse racing and enjoy a good wager, Ruidoso Downs in the southern part of New Mexico should be on your radar! This venue, comprising both a racetrack and casino, is a magnet for those eager to root for horse athletes dashing towards the finish line. Alongside the races, you have the option to engage in casino gaming and relish a sumptuous meal. Adding to its allure, Ruidoso Downs is situated amidst the stunning Sierra Blanca mountain range, pulling in visitors from New Mexico, Texas, and even farther afield. Some people love it so much, they decide to settle down in Ruidoso. If you’re thinking of moving to Ruidoso, either permanently or as a seasonal destination, read more about that here.

Essential facts about Ruidoso Downs Race Track

Ruidoso Downs horses leaving the gate


What forms of racing are offered at Ruidoso Downs?

Specializing in both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse events, Ruidoso Downs is especially known for hosting the All American Futurity. This race is hailed as the “richest race” in the Quarter Horse universe and is the most financially rewarding for two-year-old horses of any kind. The venue touts itself as “The Home of the $8 Million Quarter Horse Triple Crown.” The term “Quarter Horse” is derived from these horses’ prowess in sprinting a quarter-mile.

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What’s the racing season at Ruidoso Downs?

Ruidoso Downs usually hosts live equine competitions on weekends, stretching from Memorial Day until Labor Day. The high point of the season is the All American Futurity, which caps off the Labor Day weekend festivities. In the off-season, the Race Book allows you to bet on various horse races happening nationwide.

Horses at Ruidoso Downs

Can you gamble at Ruidoso Downs?

The Billy the Kid Casino, a key feature of the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and Casino ensemble, is open every day. It boasts an array of over 300 gaming machines, giving you plenty of choices. The establishment has recently incorporated electronic games, offering a range from modest-stakes to upper-limit slots.

The weekly Billy’s Shootout Six Handicapping Contest takes place each Thursday at the Race Book, featuring a new set of racetracks and events every month. The Race Book itself provides a more intimate setting, complete with food and bar services, within the confines of the Ruidoso Downs complex. Additionally, a rewards club is available at no cost to individuals who are 21 years or older, granting you the opportunity to earn points redeemable for complimentary gameplay and even track discounts.

What betting vocabulary is crucial for horse racing?

Here’s a list of must-know terms when you’re placing bets.

  • Win: Your horse has to cross the finish line first.
  • Place: Your horse should be among the first or second finishers.
  • Show: Your horse needs to be in one of the top three spots.
  • Across the board: A single bet for a horse to win, place, or show on a solitary ticket.
  • Exacta: The top two horses must finish in that exact sequence.
  • Exacta box: Select the first two horses, order doesn’t matter.
  • Trifecta: Choose the top three horses in a specified arrangement.
  • Trifecta box: Identify the first three horses, in any given order.
  • Superfecta: Opt for the leading four horses in a defined finishing sequence.

Keep in mind, these terms are based on the officially declared finishing order of the race.

Casino at Ruidoso DownsFor bettors with a bit more savvy, permutation bets like exactas, trifectas, or superfectas could be the way to go. This entails picking multiple horses in a race and could enhance your likelihood of winning. Be sure to confirm the official results before collecting your winnings at a teller or a self-service terminal (it’s advisable to double-check, even if you assume you’ve lost).

Also, note that live racing bets at Ruidoso Downs are organized as “pool bets.” All bets for a specific race are collectively pooled, and the proceeds are shared among those with winning tickets, similar to how a lottery operates.

What’s the most luxurious way to enjoy the races at The Downs?

For an exclusive race-day experience, look into the Jockey Club. According to the official website, this membership provides “exceptional viewing spots along with top-notch dining and drinks.” Both full memberships and single-day access are available (some limitations apply).

What Other things can you do at Ruidoso Downs?

Ruidoso Downs isn’t solely focused on horse racing and betting activities. It also serves as a choice venue for live performances and unique events, including the Zia Festival and the Chile the Kid Festival. Gastronomically, the venue features weekend dining options like 440 Smokehouse and Anejo Cantina. Additionally, Brendan’s at the Jockey Club opens its doors for fine dining to the general public on Fridays and Saturdays from September to May.

When it comes to attire, the general guideline is weekend casual, except if you’re visiting the more exclusive Jockey Club.

If Ruidoso seems like the locale you’d want to reside in, whether full-time or during specific seasons, go here to find more information about buying a home in Ruidoso or look into luxury vacation rentals.

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This article was posted by Julia Osgood

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