Ruidoso Barn Area Opens May 1; Meet To Begin As Scheduled May 22 Without Fans

After weeks of stay at home orders and COVID-19 precautionary measures, officials at Ruidoso Downs Race Track in New Mexico announced Tuesday that horses will be admitted to the barn area on Friday, May 1. In addition, live horse racing will begin as scheduled on Friday, May 22, without fans in attendance.

Until further notice, only New Mexico Racing Commission licensed training staff, jockeys and NMRC track officials will be allowed on the premises. Ruidoso Downs has developed an operational protocol for barn area occupants and will enforce those efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by requiring daily temperature and health screenings. Everyone will also be required to wear a face covering.

Trainers will bring in horses through an appointment calendar in order to throttle the number of horses coming in at one time and to allow for proper social distancing while unloading. At this time, owners are not permitted to attend the races or be on track premises.

“We have taken the first step towards a recovery, and we are being very diligent about our protocols.  Our first priority is providing a safe environment for everyone, and that will require everyone’s cooperation,” said Jeff True, Ruidoso Downs president and general manager. “We are very grateful to Governor Lujan Grisham for the opportunity to get started.”

A date has not been set for when fans will be allowed to attend the races as there is currently a Public Health Order in place that limits mass gatherings. This directive will expire on May 15, and Ruidoso Downs will work in accordance with both state and local governments on how to re-open to the public.

For the most updated information about the 2020 horse racing season at Ruidoso Downs Race Track, visit

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