April 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Cinco de Mayo, Horses, Memorial Day and More at the Casinos

" The first weekend in May is also the biggest day in horseracing: The Kentucky Derby."

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Early May for casinos means Cinco de Mayo promotions, the Kentucky Derby and Memorial Day.

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, but is more widely celebrated in the U.S. The Mexican state of Puebla celebrates this day to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is not to be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16.

In the Santa Fe/Espanola area Buffalo Thunder Resort in Pojoaque has the biggest name entertainment; in this case it is comedian Paul Rodriguez who will perform on May 4. Tickets are on sale at the casino.

You can’t have a big Mexican holiday without a big fight and the Santa Claran Sports Bar in Espanola will show the big Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul Alvarez pay-per-view fight for a $5 cover charge.

On Sunday, May 5, The Santa Claran has a “Pick a Piñata” hot seats promotion with one winner per hour. Winners will have their choice of three piñatas stuffed with great cash prizes!

And then there’s food. The Painted Parrot buffet at Buffalo Thunder will include a margarita with you meal (must be age 21+) and the Golden Buffet at the Cities of Gold Casino will also feature a special buffet.

The first weekend in May is also the biggest day in horseracing: The Kentucky Derby. The simulcasting operation has been moved from the old Sports Bar in Pojoaque to Buffalo Thunder. On Friday, May 3, the Kentucky Oats (Race for the Lilies) will take place. Saturday, May 4 the Kentucky Derby (Run for the Roses) will take place.

Later in May the Santa Claran will hold its outdoor Summer Music Fiesta. The event, set for Sunday, May 26, is free and will feature eight area bands beginning at 1 p.m.

Gaming Promotions

The two Pojoaque casinos are giving away three Cadillac ATS in May.  Finalists will be chosen at both casinos on May 11, 18 and 25.

Ohkay Casino north of Espanola will culminate its May promotion on Memorial Day in their “$30,000 Summertime Toys” giveaway.   Eighteen finalists will be picked from the seven daily winners for a chance to win a Suzuki Boulevard M-90, a Yamaha Grizzly 700 4x4 and a Kawasaki 610 Mule 4x4 Side by Size.

The Santa Claran is opting for lots of smaller giveaways in May including:

  1. May 12 and 19 - $200 Hot Seats, every half hour from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30pm and 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.
  2. May 26 and 27 - Slammin’ Slots with five winners every hour.
  3. May 31 and June 1 - $90,000 Whirlwind of Cash.  Two winners every hour from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. for a chance at their share of $4,500 in cash.


Almost all casino promotions require free membership in their player’s club. Rules on how to earn entries, etc. are usually posted or available at the players club of each casino.

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