Soon after, he began working as a $90-a-week salesman for a firm in Wichita that manufactured automobile windshields. In just nine years he became company president.
Blessed with a true entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Hubbard has never been afraid of hard work and runs his business ventures with a sure hand. In 1978, he worked with some investors to merge two glass companies into AFG Industries – which became the nation's second-largest glass manufacturer and a Fortune 500 company. He sold AFG in 1992. The glass industry honored Mr. Hubbard with its Phoenix Award for his many contributions to that business.
Today, Mr. Hubbard is chairman of R.D. Hubbard Enterprises, a company based in Palm Desert, CA, with interests that include golf courses, real estate and racing.
During his first years in the glass business in Kansas, Mr. Hubbard and his boss, Art Lankin, became interested in Quarter Horses. Eventually they had about 50 show horse type individuals that they co-owned through their glass and muffler business. It soon became apparent that the racing end of the horse business was more lucrative, so they began buying top Quarter Horse race horses and sold their show stock.
Among their early acquisitions were the stallions Diamond Charge, who held the record for 300 yards at that time, and Moolah Bar. The plan was to stand the stallions at the partners' Red Bee Ranch, north of Wichita. They also began racing Quarter Horses, which included going to Ruidoso Downs every summer.
Since then, Mr. Hubbard has campaigned more than 100 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse stakes winners (many with various partners). Some of these successful runners have been bred and raised at Crystal Springs Farm, first in Kentucky and now in New Mexico.
Among his Thoroughbred stakes winners are: Gentlemen, Corwyn Bay, Spring House, Artema, Fit to Lead, Fire the Groom, Justwhistledixie, Man Among Men, Royal Shyness, Puerto Madero, Southern Rhythm, Talloires and Stravinsky.
His Quarter Horse stars, owned or co-owned, bred or co-bred, include: Denim N Diamonds, The Down Side, Make Mine Cash, Noconi, Brenda Beautiful, My Dashing Lady, Super Sound Charge, the Signature, Stoli, Planet Holland, Favorite Cartel and Ketel Won. A more complete list of their accomplishments can be found here.
For his achievements and impact on the industry, Mr. Hubbard was honored by the American Quarter Horse Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2009.
With the Hubbards' interest in racehorses came an interest in racetracks. He and Joan Dale (a former Wichita schoolteacher) often visited Ruidoso, both because of the racing at Ruidoso Downs and because they enjoyed staying in that charming mountain resort town.
Over the years, Mr. Hubbard observed that his favorite track was becoming rundown. He purchased the decaying Ruidoso Downs in 1988 with partner Dr. Ed Allred and the two poured millions into its renovation. Mr. Hubbard owned a majority interest in the track until 2017.
Soon after that 1988 acquisition, Mr. Hubbard constructed and opened The Woodlands in Kansas City. In late 1990, he had the opportunity to purchase a share in Hollywood Park in California, and ended up as its CEO. Hollywood Park then purchased Turf Paradise in Arizona and a dog track in Oregon. Casinos also became a part of the enterprise. Hollywood Park and Turf Paradise were eventually sold, and Mr. Hubbard sold his stock in the company in 2003 and "retired."
In 2004 (however), Mr. Hubbard and partners were granted a license to build a new racetrack and casino in Hobbs, NM. The casino opened in 2005 and the track, Zia Park, in 2006. It was sold to Penn National Gaming in 2007. Mr. Hubbard currently owns only Ruidoso Downs.
For his business achievements in the equine industry, Mr. Hubbard was presented in 2008 with the prestigious Galbreath Award by the University of Louisville.
R.D. & Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation
In 1986, the Hubbards formed the R.D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation to support charitable causes for which the two have special regard. To date, the foundation has given more than $25 million to educational scholarships, to Hubbard's alma mater Butler County Community College, to the Shoemaker Foundation, to the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America, to the American Quarter Horse Foundation, to projects in poor communities in southeastern New Mexico, to medical research, and more.
The Hubbards are avid collectors of art, artifacts and memorabilia, some of which can be found in the home they built in Ruidoso. Much more, however, is housed in the Hubbard Museum of the American West. It has grown from its first extensive Anne C. Stradling collection of amazing horse memorabilia to one which features more than 10,000 pieces.
In 2000, it became the first New Mexico museum accepted into the prestigious Smithsonian Affiliate Program. In 2005, the Hubbards presented the museum to the city of Ruidoso Downs.