New Mexico's Zia Park to Begin 56-Day Meet

Hobbs track adds $300,000 Zia Park Oaks, part of 'Land of Enchantment Day' Nov. 24.

Zia Park Racetrack & Casino will offer its richest-ever stakes schedule and a new wagering menu when the Hobbs, N.M., oval begins its racing season Sept. 7. Racing runs until Dec. 3. 

The inaugural $300,000 Zia Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles takes place Nov. 24. It highlights a new "Land of Enchantment Day" that will also feature the $200,000 Zia Park Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, and the $150,000 Zia Park Distance Championship for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles. The Zia Park Oaks will be the richest Thoroughbred race for female horses ever contested in New Mexico.

Zia Park also will host the richest day of state-bred stakes races in the country on New Mexico Cup Day Oct. 27 with 12 stakes races for New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses totaling nearly $1.8 million in purses. A new $120,000 New Mexico Classic Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Championship has been added to this year's New Mexico Cup Day lineup.

The 33 stakes races for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses that will take place during the 56-day season will be worth a total of $3.95 million, the most lucrative since the track began racing in 2005.

"We have the pieces in place for a remarkable season," said Fred Hutton, Zia Park's new director of racing operations. "The new Zia Park Oaks and 'Land of Enchantment Day' will hopefully put Zia Park in the national spotlight. Looking at the stakes calendar around the country, we felt the 3-year-old filly division would benefit from a new, large-money race at that time of year."

Zia Park also will feature a new wagering menu this season. The Hobbs Hi-5 Jackpot will be a new wager offered on the final race each day that requires picking the first five finishers in the race in correct order. Should no ticket win, the pool will carry over to the next day.

"The Hobbs Hi-5 has the potential to offer some of the largest payouts we've ever seen at Zia Park," Hutton said.

The minimum wager on the Hobbs Hi-5 Jackpot will be 50 cents. The track has lowered the minimum on Daily Double and Pick 3 wagers to 50 cents this year. An early Pick 4 on the first four races each day joins the Pick 4 that has been offered in past seasons on the concluding four races.

Racing this season is regularly scheduled on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, and will include Wednesdays for the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November. The first race each day will be at 12:15 p.m. MT.