The Downs at Santa Fe

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The Downs at Santa Fe was a horse racing facility near Santa Fe, New Mexico, running thoroughbred and American quarter horse events.[1] Originally named Santa Fe Downs, the $5.5 million mile oval track opened in June 1971 with a crowd of 11,000 people, causing traffic jams in the area.[2] Although the track enjoyed good attendance and handle, the heavy debt load to build the track became unmanageable when interest rates rose in the mid-1970s and the track filed for bankruptcy in December 1975.[3]

The track reopened only a year later under the name Downs at Santa Fe when a group led by local businessman Ken Newton acquired the track. Operations resumed with good result. Between 1976 and 1984, The Downs' average daily handle went from $209,827 to $458,031 - the largest percentage increase of any track in the nation during that time.[4] Among the famous horses that raced there was Real Quiet, a horse that won the first two legs of American Triple Crown.[5] Notable jockeys Garrett K. Gomez and Mike Smith won their first races at the Downs. In 1996, Pojoaque Pueblo acquired and renovated the Downs at Santa Fe Racetrack for $7 million, but closed it only one year later after heavy losses.[6] Today the property is used as an outdoor event venue for concerts and flea markets.


  1. ^ Santa Fe Downs Opening Delayed, The Gallup Independent, May 26, 1971
  2. ^ Capacity Crowd at Santa Fe Downs, Clovis News-Journal, June 6, 1971
  3. ^ Downs Plans Racing Season Despite Reorganization, Las Vegas Optic, December 17, 1975
  4. ^ Downs Is Picking Up the Pace, Albuquerque Journal, June 13, 1997
  5. ^ "Hawthorne Race a Showcase for 2-year-olds", Chicago Tribune, November 14, 1998
  6. ^ Tribe To Close Santa Fe Downs Because of Financial Losses, Albuquerque Journal, November 22, 1997

Coordinates: 35°35′19.8″N 106°4′28.1″W / 35.588833°N 106.074472°W / 35.588833; -106.074472