A group of five highly-successful businessmen who are heavily vested in the breeding and racing of American Quarter Horses and R.D. Hubbard have all signed a letter of intent that involves Hubbard selling Ruidoso Downs Race Track and the Ruidoso Horse Sale Company to the group.
The individuals in the group are Stan Sigman, Gary McKinney, Narciso (Chicho) Flores, Johnny Trotter (all from Texas) and John Andreini of California.
Hubbard, 81, bought Ruidoso Downs in 1988 with Dr. Ed Allred, who also owns Los Alamitos Race Course in California. Hubbard later purchased Allred’s interest in the Ruidoso facility.
The prospective ownership group met Saturday morning in Oklahoma City and elected Sigman as its chairman.
“We are about to start our due diligence, and in due time we will start the process of gaining regulatory approval,” said Sigman. “It is our goal to close the deal in the fourth quarter of 2017.
“It was five people who did this,” said Sigman. “I’m just the spokesperson because I’m the chairman and speak on behalf of the five people. These five people have a passion for horseracing. They have a passion for the horses and all of the people in the industry. The best example I can give is that when we are in Ruidoso we worship at the (race track) Chapel because we want to worship with the people.”
On Sunday morning, Ruidoso Downs president and general manager Shaun Hubbard said, “These men know Ruidoso Downs, and they are committed to keeping it as the best place in the nation for Quarter Horse racing.”
R.D. Hubbard, an internationally acclaimed businessman, has been a leading Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse owner and breeder for decades and has had ownership in such other tracks as Hollywood Park, Los Alamitos, Zia Park, Turf Paradise and The Woodlands in addition to Ruidoso Downs. Hubbard owned a farm in Kentucky for many years and now has his Crystal Springs Farm located just a short drive from Ruidoso Downs. “Nothing will change at Crystal Springs, except maybe putting an All American Futurity winner in one of the paddocks,” Hubbard said.
“I’m not about to quit racing. I still need to win the All American Futurity. We’re still breeding mares and still making babies” said Hubbard. “I’ll be at the sales this year buying horses.”
During Hubbard’s ownership, the Grade 1 All American Futurity grew from a $2,000,000 purse in 1989 to $3,000,000 last year. The Grade 1 All American Derby went from $330,812 in 1989 to $2,415,984 last year.
The Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity zoomed from $357,172 in 1989 (when it was the Kansas Futurity) to $1,000,000 in 2016. The Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby (formerly the Kansas Derby) went from $44,986 in 1989 to $1,068,631 in 2016.
The Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity was $447,630 during the first year Hubbard owned the track. In 2016, it was $1,000,000. In the same time the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby jumped from $398,231 to $1,324,488.
Under Hubbard’s ownership, the Ruidoso Horse Sales Company has become the nation’s number-one seller (in dollar volume and average price) of racing bred American Quarter Horse yearlings.
Horses began entering the grounds this morning at Ruidoso Downs and the track opens for training on Friday. The Quarter Horse gates will be set next Monday (May 1), which is also the date for entry into the May 8-10 two-year-old training races. The meet opens on May 26.