A Look into the Past of the Ruidoso Jockey
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.
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.
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.