06/27/2012 12:38PM

Zia stakes schedule topped by $150,000 derby and a rich statebred day

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Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., will conduct one of the year’s final derbies and one of the nation’s richest card of statebred stakes during its 54-date mixed meet for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses that opens Sept. 8. The season runs through Dec. 4.

Zia will offer 17 Thoroughbred stakes during the meet, including the $150,000 Zia Park Derby. The 1 1/16-mile race will be run Dec. 1, making it one of the calendar’s final stakes for 3-year-olds. The same weekend, the track will run the $200,000-added Zia Park Distance Championship, a 1 1/8-mile handicap for 3-year-olds and up on Dec. 2.

The New Mexico Cup, an Oct. 28 card that features 11 stakes for horses bred in New Mexico, is annually worth about $2 million, making the program one of the richest of its kind. There will be seven divisional stakes for Thoroughbreds, among them the $180,000-added Rocky Gulch for 3-year-olds and up at a mile, and the $170,000-added Peppers Pride for fillies and mares at the same distance. The four Quarter Horse stakes on the card include the $170,000-added Championship, which is a restricted Grade 1.

Zia’s stakes program kicks off Sept. 9, with the eighth running of the $100,000 Premiere Cup Handicap. The six-furlong race is for 3-year-olds and up. Stall applications for the meet are due to Zia’s new director of racing, Fred Hutton, by July 20. Hutton is also the racing secretary at Zia.