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Horse play: The Downs Racetrack & Casino offers Kentucky Derby wagers, events

Kentucky Derby enthusiasts can begin wagering at 8:30 a.m. May 4 in the First Turn Lounge inside The Downs Racetrack & Casino. Guests can enjoy food and drink specials and watch the action on a 20-foot HDTV on the patio or on 30 screens inside. (Courtesy of The Downs Racetrack & Casino)

The Downs Racetrack & Casino is going all out again for the Kentucky Derby.

Advanced wagering on the Derby and the entire May 4 card will be available today. The first post for Churchill Downs is at 8:30 a.m. Albuquerque time on Saturday, May 4. The Kentucky Derby race is at 4:50 p.m. (Race 12) Wagering is available at the Grandstand beginning at 8 a.m.

The Grandstand is offering VIP room seating for $15 per person and Turf Club & Jockey Club seating for $10. Reservations are recommended. Call 266-5555 or 400-5701 to reserve your spot. Patio tables and apron seating is free.

A Grandstand party will be held on the patio. It will feature live music, a bar, burgers and hot dogs. Be sure to purchase your souvenir Kentucky Derby glass and enjoy a fresh Mint Julep. The bar opens at 10 a.m. and the second floor bar opens at noon. Guests can view the races on the 48 foot outdoor Jumbotron along with all indoor screens.

Rozanna M. MartinezWagering will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the First Turn Lounge inside The Downs Casino. Enjoy drink specials including Mint Juleps and food specials. Watch all the actions on a 20 foot HDTV on the patio or on 30 screens located inside.

The Crown Room is offering a Kentucky Derby food special today and Saturday, May 4. Dig into a 14-ounce prime rib, au jus, served with creamy mashed potatoes, chef’s seasonal vegetables, and horseradish for $24.00 per person.

The Downs live horse racing season is almost here. Its season opens on June 28 with a 6:05 p.m. post time and runs every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Sept. 22. During the New Mexico State Fair, racing will change to daily. For now, horse racing fans can watch and wager on simulcast horse racing daily at The Downs.

On the casino floor, patrons can be part of the “$120,000 Winning Wheels” promotion through May 31. Three winners will be selected during drawings at noon, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 p.m. for a chance to win up to $1,000 by spinning wheels.

Win your share of $3,000 in free play on Saturdays and Sundays. Drawings will be held at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 p.m. Play your virtual Down Derby and pick your horse at your machine along with your regular slot play. All win, place, show and fourth-place winners will receive immediate free play. Qualify by playing your preferred slot game.

Triple Crown Players Club members receive five times the points when they play their favorite games at The Downs every Wednesday and receive bonus five times the points on Cinco de Mayo, May 5, on Mother’s Day, May 12, and Memorial Day, May 27. Also, Players Club members with a birthday in May earn three times the points on their actual birthday and two times the points every Tuesday in May.

The Crown Room is offering a special Mother’s Day brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 12, for $39.99 per person or $14.99 for ages 10 and younger. The menu includes roast prime rib, omelets, eggs and French toast. Accompaniments include honey-glazed salmon, asparagus-stuffed chicken with fettuccine pasta and alfredo sauce, Mediterranean pasta salad, potatoes O’Brien, sweet potato casserole and more. Assorted pastries and desserts are also part of the offerings.

The First Turn Lounge is the place to be for live entertainment on Thursdays for Ladies Night and every Friday and Saturday. Dance the night away with Black Pearl tonight and Saturday, May 4, Westwind Band on May 9, Str8 Shot on May 10 and 11, Severo y Grupo Fuego on May 16, Gonzalo on May 17 and 18, Northern Revolution on May 23, Tequila Rain on May 24 and 25 and Sangre Joven on May 30.

For more information on The Downs Racetrack & Casino, call 767-7171 or visit

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