Zia Park Reports 14% Increase in 2013 Handle

New Mexico track set a single-day wagering mark with its Land of Enchantment program.

Zia Park reported an overall handle increase of 14.29% for the 56-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet that concluded Dec. 3.

The totals marked the third year in a row that Zia experienced a growth in wagering when compared to the previous year.

The track was helped out by the inaugural "Land Of Enchantment Day" program Nov. 27, which included the initial runner of the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks. The card generated a single-day handle record at the Hobbs, N.M., track totaling $1.56 million. The previous mark of $1.02 million was established on New Mexico Cup Day in November 2009.

Zia reported that its average daily handle for the 2013 stand was $435,229, a 10.22% increase over the previous year, when a 54-day meet was conducted. Overall field size increased marginally, from 7.98 horse per race in 2012 to 8.06 this year.

"This season by far exceeded our expectations," said Fred Hutton, Zia Park director of racing operations.  "Everything came together so well. The revamped racing surface put together by new track consultant Tony Martinez Sr. and his crew received excellent reviews from horsemen. Trainers from all over the country and even Canada got on board for our big races. We're doing some big things at Zia Park, and we will look to continue that improvement into 2014."

Jockey Ry Eikleberry won his first Thoroughbred riding title at Zia Park with 58 wins. Justin Evans captured his second Zia Thoroughbred training title in a row with 60 victories. David Wilbanks was the leading Thoroughbred owner with 12 wins.

Zia Park is currently scheduled to hold a 56-day meet in 2014 from Sept. 6 to Dec. 2.