02/26/2014 3:36PM

Zia Park: Oaks set for Nov. 26 on card with seven stakes


The $300,000 Zia Park Oaks, which was introduced last year, will be renewed Nov. 26 as part of a $1.1 million card of seven stakes at the Hobbs, N.M., track. Zia Park, which opens a mixed meet Sept. 6, released its stakes schedule Wednesday. The track will race 56 dates through Dec. 2.

The 1 1/16-mile Zia Park Oaks is one of 19 Thoroughbred stakes on the schedule worth a cumulative $2.4 million. Overall, there are 33 stakes worth $3.9 million this meet at Zia. The Oaks will anchor the second annual Land of Enchantment program, which is made up of five stakes for Thoroughbreds and two for Quarter Horses.

Last year, Zia had planned to run the five Thoroughbred stakes on one card and showcase the two Quarter Horse races on another, but a winter storm forced the cancellation of racing that weekend, and the stakes all landed on a special Wednesday card that ended up producing a record all-sources handle of $1.5 million at Zia.

Zia is sticking with a proven formula and has elected to run the seven stakes on another Wednesday card for 2014, again the day before Thanksgiving. The races supporting the Oaks include the $200,000 Zia Park Derby at 1 1/16 miles, the $150,000 Zia Park Distance Championship for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, and the Grade 1, $150,000 Quarter Horse Championship. The card complements a Thanksgiving Eve Racing Festival at one of Zia’s sister tracks, Penn National. Both tracks are owned by Penn Gaming.

Other highlights of the Zia stakes schedule include the $2 million New Mexico Cup, featuring 12 divisional stakes for New Mexico-breds on Oct. 26. The program features eight stakes for Thoroughbreds.