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Ruidoso Downs revels in return of fans for new race season

RUIDOSO DOWNS — In 2020 the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack opened up to those who were involved in the racing of the horses and not much else.

Throughout the COVID-19 2020 racing season the Downs was able to slowly allow fans but with heavy restrictions on everything from the concession area being caged off to a drive-through betting window simply to let people bet on races they couldn’t attend in person.

Lincoln County is now at the Turquoise level. Since the Downs is an outdoor venue it was allowed to restart all of its normal activities at 75 percent capacity.

Race-goers wait for the next race at the Memorial Day weekend races at Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino in Ruidoso on Saturday, May 29, 2021.

For the first two days of the Derby Trials the place looks much more like it did in the 2019 season than the 2020 season. The grandstands were packed, the concession corridor and the casino both on the bottom level are open for business and the sound of fans yelling during the races is back in full force.

While masks are not required if attendees have had their vaccinations there is signage around reminding people to still socially distance and there are plenty of hand sanitizer locations throughout the property.