Downs At Albuquerque: Over $2.2 Million In Purses On The Line This Sunday by Track Magazine|09.23.2022|11:30am Danjer wins the 2021 AQHA Challenge Championship G1 at Albuquerque by two lengths last October. Headlined by the New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity with a record purse of $625,689, the Downs at Albuquerque will pay out a track record total of $2,201,440.29 in 10 races this Sunday afternoon. The track's owner Paul Blanchard and President of Racing Donnie Cook told TRACK Magazine Monday afternoon that the $625,689 for the futurity is not only the richest race ever run in the 84-year history of New Mexico's oldest racing plant, it is also the richest race ever run anywhere for accredited New Mexico-bred horses. “This is a very exciting time for all horsemen in New Mexico,” said Blanchard. “To have this race with a $626,000 purse and then the Championship with a $300,000 purse is a real testament to the strength of the horse business in New Mexico and the entire nation. “The strength of the business is shown by the quality of the fields. We not only have the defending World Champion Danjer in the Championship and we have a strong field for the New Mexico State Fair Futurity, but we also have quality fields in all 10 races. “The recent New Mexico-Bred sale at Ruidoso showed a 43 percent increase in prices and that as much as anything shows the overall strength of the horse business in New Mexico. There is no doubt that the enhancement of the New Mexico State Fair Futurity had a lot to do with the success of that sale. And the positive effects of that sale and the size of the futurity should lead to a good breeding season in 2023.” The leading money earner in the $330,000 New Mexico State Fair Thoroughbred Futurity is Storm Leader $154,000, who won the Rio Grande Senor Futurity and the Mountain Top Futurity this summer at Ruidoso. Also in this race is Better Believe $108,000, who won the Rio Grande Senorita Futurity. The New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity includes horses that this summer ran in the finals of the Zia Futurity and the Mountain Top Futurity, the two richest New Mexico-bred races at Ruidoso this past summer. Talbott was the fastest qualifier of the 105 horses in the Sept. 9 trials for the $626,000 New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity, and he has drawn the outside post position for Sunday's rich race. Among the horses that Talbott will face are Wood Dee Queen, Flashtoglory and Codex, all of which won their trials by daylight. Danjer, the $1.7 Million earner who is the AQHA defending World Champion, certainly should be the favorite in the $300,000 The Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship at 440 yards. Danjer won this race in 2020 and won the AQHA Challenge Championship G1 here last year. Two-time World Champion Jessies First Down won this race in 2017 and 2018. “The Fall Championship has turned out to be everything that we hoped it would be,” Blanchard said. “It is a true Championship race that everybody wants to win. “We're excited about this weekend. We have tested blood, hair, and urine. And we'll be testing more both before and after the races. And we are going to expand our testing in 2023 to include a new broad spectrum program. We must do everything we can to keep racing as clean as possible.” Blanchard said with the large number of horses currently eligible for the 2023 New Mexico State Fair Futurity that the race should easily reach it's $1,000,000 goal. Cook told TRACK Magazine that Albuquerque is working with the New Mexico Horse Breeders Association and it appears that the New Mexico State Fair Derby will have a record $600,000 purse in 2023. “I hope that everyone can be here Sunday for our big day. And if you can't be here in person, you can see it on The Cowboy Channel. It's going to be fun!” Here are the races that will be run Sunday with the first post being at 1:30 p.m. MDT. Race 1: 400-yard allowance, purse $37,700. For registered New Mexico-bred fillies and mares three years old and older which have not won a race since March 25 or which have never won four races. Race 2: 5 furlongs, purse $30,500. For registered New Mexico-bred maidens, 2-year-olds. Race 3: 5-1/2 furlongs, purse $30,500. For registered New Mexico-bred maidens, fillies, 2-year-olds. Race 4: New Mexico State Fair Thoroughbred Futurity. 6 furlongs, purse $329,947. For registered New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds who qualified for finals. Race 5: New Mexico State Fair Juvenile Stakes. 400 yards, purse $100,000-guaranteed. For 2-year-old registered New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses that started in the New Mexico State Fair Futurity Trials and failed to qualify for the finals. Race 6: The Downs at Albuquerque La Fiesta Derby. 400 yards, purse $173,907. For 3-year-olds which qualified for The Downs at Albuquerque La Fiesta Derby finals. Race 7: New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Derby. 400 yards, purse $287,844. For 3-year-old Registered New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses which qualified for the New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Derby finals. Race 8: The Downs at Albuquerque La Fiesta Futurity. 400 yards, purse $285,352. For 2-year-olds which qualified for The Downs at Albuquerque La Fiesta Futurity finals. Race 9: New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity RG2. 400 yards, purse $625,589. For 2-year-old Registered New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses which qualified for the New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity finals. Race 10: The Downs at Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship G1. 440 yards, purse $300,000-guaranteed. Three-year-olds and older.