Zia Park in Hobbs kicks off horse racing season

Published: Nov. 3, 2023 at 5:20 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2023 at 6:35 PM CDT
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HOBBS, New Mexico (KCBD) - Zia Park Casino Hotel & Racetrack kicked off its horse racing season in Hobbs, New Mexico, on Friday. This is the beginning of more than a month of racing that can bring an economic boost to Lea County.

The general manager of Zia Park, Lauren Barrows, said horse racing is the foundation of Zia Park because before it was a hotel or casino, racing came first.

“Since we’ve been open, racing has been an intricate part of Zia park - that’s really how it started,” Barrows said.

Those who went to opening day were glad the 19th season is here.

“It’s wonderful,” one attendee said.

Some come to the races hoping to leave with some extra cash.

“I bet a little on them, what I can afford. I don’t spend any extra money, just what I have allotted when I walk in,” an attendee said.

Others came for the dining. Barrows said those who visit Zia Park for horse racing this season can expect a better atmosphere with more entertainment.

“We have Drylands restaurant with our garage doors that are open, so you can go in and out. We have our steakhouse, we have some new menus that we’ve rolled out,” Barrows said.

For opening day, Barrows said there were 1,200 horses and $13 million in prize money. She said horse racing isn’t only important to Zia Park, it also helps the state.

“The horse racing community in New Mexico actually generates almost $400 million in revenues,” Barrows said. “So, it’s an amazing business that contributes to the state economically.”

While you’re there hoping to win some extra money, one man has some advice.

“After you watch them a few days, that’s when it gets better. The first day, anybody may win,” an attendee said.

Zia Park will have quarter horse racing every Saturday and Sunday, and thoroughbred racing every Monday and Tuesday through Dec. 20.