A Look into the Past of the Ruidoso Jockey Club

The Ruidoso Jockey Club, Inc. was officially chartered in 1954. However, many racing fans who were originally box seat ticket holders for the previous race meets at Ruidoso Downs first conceived of a Clubhouse area for Ruidoso Downs. Gene Hensley and his brother James Hensley, who had recently (probably around 1951-1952) purchased the track, felt their first obligation was to see the track debt free. Many of these box seat ticket holders presented the idea of a private Jockey Club.

The legalities were completed and Ruidoso Jockey Club, Inc. became a New Mexico Corporation in January 1954 and opened for its first racing season that summer. Stock in the organization was sold to individuals for $500 per share. In 1963 the minority stockholders waged a run on control and took over the management in 1963-64. The number of shares authorized was changed twice and in 1972 came to the present authorization of 400 shares.

From its beginning cost at $500 per share, stock sold by the late 1970ís and early 1980ís for as high as $100,000 per share. Presently Ruidoso Jockey Club, Inc. stock sells from $7,500 to around $35-40,000 per share.

The Club was expanded to the east 50 feet in 1958 and to the west a distance of 120 feet in 1972. The first elevator was added in 1958. In 1991 the Club was remodeled and the new lobby and second floor elevator was added. In 2004 the Club underwent major renovations that included new carpet throughout, polished granite replacing the bar tops, air-conditioning units added to the dining and board rooms, expansion to allow for additional room seating, reupholstered chairs and benches, new ceiling fans above the slopes, and new business offices.

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