Nestled somewhere in the mountains of New Mexico lies a town that if visited between the months of October and January appears to be sleepy at best. Condominiums and even some stores looks as if though one day residents just picked up and left. Like the deserted towns of old. Life just stopped one day. And to an extent in many cases that is exactly what happened. This happens every year during the first week of September.
See Ruidoso isn’t just ‘any’ mountain town thriving with tourists during peek seasons of the year. Ruidoso Downs is home to the richest, most prestigious quarter horse race in the world. The All American Futurity was started in 1959, with a purse of $129,686.85 and has ran every labor day weekend since. Every year from May through September equine athletes and enthusiasts alike call Ruidoso Downs home. Home away from home, because that is exactly what it is. People come from all walks of life to invest in a chance to run in the race of all quarter horse races. For the pride, money, prestige, and momentary fame that comes with running in the All American Futurity.
Every year across America yearlings are purchased with this dream in mind. Apart from the racing festivities the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale is also held in conjunction with the race. The sale is a three day sale and yearlings from all over the united states are fitted and consigned to this sale. The sale is held Friday night through Sunday Night after the races each day.
The yearlings entered in this sale have been prepped for the sale ring for months. Each yearling is a story yet to be told. He is judged from the lineage running through his veins. He is evaluated from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Individuals from generations back play a part in the price tag upon his head. It is a game of politics, chance, fate, logic, and strategy. Nothing is certain in horse racing. It is anybody’s game any day of the week. The factors in which these yearlings are evaluated and purchased on do nothing more than ‘suggest’ what he ‘should’ be capable of doing….’if’ everything goes according to plan. But as with anything in life and especially in sports, there are no guarantees. Perhaps the old phrase “Every dog has his day” has never been more appropriate than in horse racing. There is always the ‘long shot’, the ‘underdog’, the ‘Cinderella story’ waiting to be told. For many this is the allure, ‘it can happen to me’, ‘this is my year’ and so the bidding begins!
The track on this particular weekend has a unique buzz about it. Folks are early to rise and late to bed. Upon entering Ruidoso Downs on Labor Day weekend one can only catch the ‘bug’, the atmosphere is overwhelming and contagious. There are no lazy days sitting around sipping tea this time of year in this busy tourist town. There are places to go, people to see, races to win, and horses to buy. Aside from all of the ‘prep’ for the enormous race those who call Ruidoso Downs their temporary home are also preparing to leave. Once the horses in the last race cross the finish line on Monday evening it becomes a rat race to beat the traffic and get out of town.
We decided to document our All American Weekend journey so that we could share it with you, our fellow equine enthusiasts. The All American is about many things to many people and for many of us we have different definitive views on what exactly makes the ‘All American’ THE All American. However most of us could agree on a few core commonalities of the All Amercian weekend.
All American weekend is about ‘Tradition’ and heritage. Something we here at Hart Trailer can appreciate and something we believe in. Perhaps that is why we feel so at home when we get to be a part of it.
It is about old friends and new friends.
It is about new partnerships
It is about family and legacies. It is for the young and the old.
It is about a dream that started the moment a stallion was chosen for a specific mare. It is about the hall of famers AND the ‘little man’.
It is about new beginnings as well as endings.
Ocho the CEN Pony
It is about style and class
It is about a ‘Game Plan’
Its about the the relationships
And the bonds
Its about the excitement
It is about representation and detail
It is about about being prepared to do whatever it takes to navigate through the massive crowd of racing enthusiasts…
It is about long days…
And good times…
If ever you find yourself faced with the opportunity to watch ten of the fastest two year old quarter horses run the race of their lives we hope that you consider seizing that chance. It is not one that you will ever forget and if you like horses even just a little bit you are bound to find yourself hypnotized by the ‘land of enchantment’ in the world of quarter horse racing.
Here’s to a great All American 2014! We cannot wait until next year!
P.S. JM Miracle ran away with the 2014 win in the All American Futurity!