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  • KRQE News 13

    Racehorses evacuated from Ruidoso Downs to Expo New Mexico

    By Bela Olague,

    28 days ago

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In the face of wildfire , a New Mexico horse racing mecca has been forced to evacuate. Hundreds of prized horses from Ruidoso Downs are heading for refuge around the state and in Albuquerque, Expo New Mexico is stepping in to help and prepared to take in as many as 1,100 horses.

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    Seeing calmer conditions Tuesday morning in Ruidoso Downs, Juan Carlos from the Gonzalez Racing Company Incorporated debated if he should evacuate his horses. But within just a couple of hours it became clear. “I kid you not in a matter of 15 minutes, I mean, you could smell the smoke,” said Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Gonzalez Racing Company Inc.

    With only 16 horses, Gonzalez made his way back to El Paso, but other trainers are trying to move 80 to 100 horses. “And that I mean is a very difficult task to move all these horses at once. Not to mention the manpower, the trailers, the trucks, in order to get something like that situated in a matter of, I don’t know, a couple hours. That’s really tough,” said Gonzalez.

    Trailers, water buckets, feed tubs, and hay are just some pieces needed to transfer these athletic animals. “At this point in time, over the last couple of days, a handful of horses have left Ruidoso Downs facility and vacated to other racetracks across the state,” said Ismael (Izzy) Trejo, Executive Director of the New Mexico Racing Commission.

    While some have chosen to stay, other facilities like the Expo in Albuquerque are offering their resources. “Whether you have livestock, yourselves, we don’t care. If you’re in need, we will take care of you up here. And for sure your racing horses will be safe up here,” said Dan Mourning, General Manager of Expo New Mexico and New Mexico State Fair.

    While they’re in Albuquerque, Expo says the horse will still be able to train and keep in racing shape. “Everyone is involved, but there’s a great communication line that goes on to make these things happen,” said Mourning.

    Expo says it will provide feed and other supplies as long as it’s needed. Ruidoso Downs was home to at least 1,500 horses this summer before the fire. Officials say for now, some upcoming races and concerts at the Downs have been canceled.

    Homeland security, New Mexico State Police, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, and the Horse Racing Commission have all coordinated their efforts to transfer these horses.

    Expo New Mexico also partners with FEMA as a Receive, Ship, and Store location. They also have on-site storage for feed, hay, and straw.

    “The outpouring has just been very heartwarming and we certainly appreciate it. And it’s great to see our industry come together in the time of need. I know that sounds cliché, but it certainly is very touching to see this all happening,” said Trejo.

    The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management saks that people do not self-dispatch trailers to Ruidoso Downs Race Track.

    People who want to help with evacuating horses can contact the Agro Guard hotline at 575-646-9191.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KRQE NEWS 13 - Breaking News, Albuquerque News, New Mexico News, Weather, and Videos.

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