Ruidoso, NM (Ruidoso News) - The Ruidoso Downs Racetrack will be open on Memorial Day weekend, on schedule to start off the 2020 racing campaign. With the COVID-19 pandemic still forcing social distancing, the Downs banned the presence of fans for live racing at least until the start of June.
The move also limited the ability for racing fans to bet on the races.
There are two ways for people interested in betting on the Futurity/Derby Trials and the $25 K Dash For Speed Stakes on Memorial Day: online through several websites, with several caveats, or at the Downs via a drive-through.
Ruidoso Downs' website lists TVG, Xpressbet, NYRAbets and Twinspires as betting websites but notes that New Mexico and Texas residents are not allowed to bet on horse racing online if the race takes place in the state of New Mexico.
More: Horse Race Betting 101
To allow locals to still bet on this weekend's races the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack will allow fans to drive up to the sales area, also known as the "sports theater" to place their bets. Betting will be allowed from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday though Monday. This is also the only time winning tickets can be redeemed.
The Downs lists the following rules for social distancing on its website:
- Patrons are required to wear a face mask and to stay in their vehicles at all times to make pari-mutuel wagers.
- Pari-mutuel attendants are required to wear masks and gloves during the transactions.
- Cash only transactions.
- Patrons are required to obey one-way traffic requirements to ensure that vehicles can operate safely alongside the pari-mutuel work stations.
"Curbside wagering is our effort to satisfy local demand for para-mutuel wagering which is unavailable online to NM residents," Jeff True, the general manger of the Downs said.
"It is a retail effort for us. We don't expect it to draw a lot of traffic, and it certainly won't replace what we would have done on-track, but it gives us a pathway to in-person wagering that we would not have had otherwise."
Racing fans can bet on any racetrack that Ruidoso Downs offers an internal simulcast signal. Ruidoso Downs' websites notes "All technological equipment is currently in place to operate the temporary drive-thru wagering service. This equipment is commonly used during the All American Yearling Select and New Mexico-Bred Horse Sales."