Total Handle, Average Purse Distribution Increase During 2018 Albuquerque Downs Meet
Albuquerque Downs ended its 54-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse race meet on September 23, recording increases in total wagering handle and average-per-race purse distribution.

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Total Handle, Average Purse Distribution Increase During 2018 Albuquerque Downs Meet

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—OCTOBER 4, 2018—Albuquerque Downs ended its 54-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse race meet on September 23, recording increases in total wagering handle and average-per-race purse distribution.

According to statistics provided to Equibase, total of $13,744,369 was wagered on Albuquerque Downs’ 515 live races, an increase of 5 percent over the $13,078,837 wagered on the track’s 543 live races during its 57-day season in 2017. The track’s average-per-race handle reached $26,688, 11 percent higher than the 2017 average-per-race handle of $24,086.

Off-track wagering handle increased by $863,667 over 2017, despite fewer races being run.

Albuquerque Downs also paid horsemen $9,643,849 in purses for 515 races, including bonuses paid to owners of New Mexico-breds who finished first, second, and third in open races (excluding stakes), down less than 1 percent from the $9,645,044 paid for 543 races in 2017. However, the track’s average-per-race purse of $18,726 was 5 percent higher than last year’s average-per-race purse of $17,763.

Albuquerque Downs’ average field size for its Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races was 8.4 starters per race, after all scratches. Albuquerque Downs’ 2018 season was scheduled for 55 days, but one date -- Saturday, July 14 -- was canceled due to weather conditions. To make up for the canceled day, the track ran a 19-race “doubleheader” program on Wednesday, July 18. In addition, inclement weather cut short two Wednesday evening cards in August, as five of nine scheduled races were run on August 1, and four of nine scheduled races were contested on August 22.

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Alfredo Juarez Jr. was Albuquerque Downs’ leading Thoroughbred jockey with 46 wins from 202 mounts, 10 more than runner-up Elvin Gonzalez, who rode 36 winners from 186 mounts. Juarez also led all Albuquerque jockeys with mount earnings of $730,322. Albuquerque Downs’ leading Thoroughbred trainer, Justin Evans, prepped the winners of 20 races from 94 starters, one more than runner-up Henry Dominguez, who won 19 races from 115 starters. Dominguez finished first in starter purse earnings at $307,606. Tom and Sandy McKenna’s Judge Lanier Racing topped all Albuquerque Downs Thoroughbred owners with 11 winners from 105 starters, two more than runner-up Gallegos del Norte Racing, which won nine races from 30 starters. Judge Lanier Racing also topped the track’s Thoroughbred owner standings with purse earnings of $264,630.

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On the Quarter Horse ledger, Alonso Rivera and Joseph Belloc Jr. were Albuquerque Downs’ co-leading jockeys with 22 wins apiece. Rivera accomplished his feat from 105 mounts, while Belloc had 95 mounts. Rivera topped all Quarter Horse riders in purse earnings with $482,178.

Jesus Carrete topped all Albuquerque Downs Quarter Horse trainers with 30 wins from 125 starters, 10 more than runner-up Arnoldo Carrillo, who prepped the winners of 20 races from 45 starters. Carrete also topped the track’s trainers in purse earnings at $590,663.

Pedro Carrillo was Albuquerque Downs’ leading Quarter Horse owner with nine wins from 25 starters, two more than Carrete, who won seven races from 26 of his own starters. Ted Abrams topped all Albuquerque Quarter Horse owners in purse earnings at $181,800, all of which was banked by Jessies First Down in the 440-yard, $300,000 Albuquerque Fall Championship (G1) on closing day.

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On the track itself, the many outstanding performances at Albuquerque Downs, which paid a track-record of more than $1.6 million in purses during its closing weekend (September 22-23), were topped by reigning two-time American Quarter Horse Association world champion Jessies First Down. A homebred 7-year-old gelding trained by Jimmy Padgett for owner Ted G. Abrams of Houston, Jessies First Down won the September 23, $300,000 Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship (G1) for the second consecutive year. This year’s Fall Championship was contested as a Grade 1 stakes for the first time in its four-year history, and it offered its winner a berth in the 440-yard, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park (G1) at Sunland Park Racetrack on December 30.

Albuquerque’s richest and most prestigious stakes for Thoroughbreds, the 1 1/8-mile, $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap on August 4, was won by Calumet Farm’s Hence, the winner of last year’s $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) and a contender on the 2017 Triple Crown trail. Steve Asmussen trained the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt.

Closing day also featured New Mexico’s longest Thoroughbred race, the 1 13/16-mile Con Jackson Claiming Stakes. Eli Diamant’s Surprisinglyperfect earned the winner’s share of the $40,300 purse, as the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding won by three-quarters of a length in 3:06.69. Dick Cappellucci trained Surprisinglyperfect.

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Live horse racing will resume at Albuquerque Downs on June 28, 2019. The scheduled 56-day season will run through September 22, and it will include an additional day of racing, October 26, to accommodate the track’s hosting of the American Quarter Horse Association’s Bank of America Challenge Championships.

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The Downs at Albuquerque Racetrack and Casino is located in the heart of Albuquerque at Expo New Mexico, the home of the New Mexico State Fair, and general admission and parking are always free (via the casino entrance at Louisiana and Central) . For more information, visit and click on the "Racing" link at the top of the homepage.