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Report from August 2017 NM Racing Commission Meeting
RSS Feeds Tuesday, August 29, 2017
The New Mexico Racing Commission held its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Albuquerque on Thursday, August 17.
New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association executive director Anna Fay Davis gave the commission the race-a-day report for the first 39 days of the Ruidoso Downs meet, which opened May 26. During the first 39 days of the Ruidoso meet, the track carded 146 New Mexico-bred races, 79 for Thoroughbreds and 67 for Quarter Horses. By comparison, Ruidoso Downs carded 153 state-bred races -- 87 for Thoroughbreds and 66 for Quarter Horses, during the first 43 days of its its 2016 season.
An average of 3.74 New Mexico-bred races per day were run during the first 39 days of the 2017 Ruidoso Downs meet, an increase of 5 percent over the 3.58 state-bred races per day during the first 43 days of the track’s 2016 season.
Also, during the first 31 days of the Ruidoso meet, a total of 210 New Mexico-breds competed in open overnight races, of which 91 (43 percent) finished first, second, or third. Of this total, 60 were Thoroughbreds and 31 were Quarter Horses. Bonuses totaling $34,322.40 were paid to the owners of these horses.
Ms. Davis added that, during the first 39 days of the Ruidoso Downs meet, the track carded 106 New Mexico-bred overnight races.
“There were 782 New Mexico-breds that were scheduled to participate in these races,” she reported. “This is an average of 7.38 New Mexico-breds per race.”
Ms. Davis also gave the commission the race-a-day report for the first 26 days of the Albuquerque Downs meet, which opened June 24. During this period, the track carded 87 New Mexico-bred races, 58 for Thoroughbreds and 29 for Quarter Horses. By comparison, Albuquerque Downs carded 98 state-bred races -- 66 for Thoroughbreds and 32 for Quarter Horses -- during the first 29 days of its 2016 season.
An average of 3.35 New Mexico-bred races per day have been run during the first 26 days of the 2017 Albuquerque Downs meet, a slight decrease from the 3.38 state-bred races per day during the first 29 days of the track’s 2016 season.
Also, during the first 19 days of the Albuquerque meet, a total of 184 New Mexico-breds competed in open overnight races, of which 54 (29 percent) finished first, second, or third. Of this total, 18 were Thoroughbreds and 36 were Quarter Horses. Bonuses totaling $34,397.10 were paid to the owners of these horses.
Ms. Davis added that, during the first 26 days of the Ruidoso meet, the track carded 86 New Mexico-bred overnight races.
“There were 777 New Mexico-breds that were scheduled to participate in these races,” she said. “This is an average of 9.03 New Mexico-breds per race.”
Ms. Davis also discussed the town-hall style meeting the NMHBA held at Ruidoso Downs during Zia Festival weekend, July 29-30.
“We had an excellent turnout for this meeting,” she said. “We were able to answer a lot of questions from our membership regarding several issues, including hair-testing procedures.”

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During his presentation to the commission, New Mexico Horsemen’s Association (www.newmexicohorsemen.com) executive director Pat Bingham gave commissioners a report on the association’s all-committee meeting held on August 16.
“We had a good turnout,” Mr. Bingham said. “We discussed several issues facing the industry, such as promotion and the need to attract new owners and fans. We also talked about advance-deposit wagering, and we have our lobbyist looking at legislation that would enable people to make wagers through their local tracks while off the premises. We live in a mobile society, and the ability to physically attend events of all kinds is become more and more difficult for people.
“We also looked at revenue sharing between tracks, and whether or not that is feasible,” he added.
Mr. Bingham also discussed the economic impact study being conducted by the NMHA with the help of the University of New Mexico economics department.
“All industry participants should be getting a postcard from UNM, and we encourage people to participate in this study. UNM has told us that they need a 30-percent participation rate to make it valid.”
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Commission executive director Ismael “Izzy” Trejo introduced investigator Melodie Ryan, who is currently working the Albuquerque Downs meet. He also said that the track inspection of Zia Park will take place on August 21. Located in Hobbs, Zia Park will open its 56-day season, its first under new director of racing Matt Crawford, on September 9.
Mr. Trejo added that the commission hopes to have a proposed advance-deposit wagering bill in time for the 2018 legislative session, which opens on January 16.
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Also at the meeting:
*The commission introduced new assistant attorney general Marlo Aragon. Ms. Aragon has been practicing law for 15 years, specializing in civil and domestic law. She has been a member of the New Mexico State Bar since 2003, and she is bilingual in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.
*The commission approved the following individuals to serve on the race review committee: Michael Cusortelli, Steve Gemlich, Pete Herrera, and Walton Wiggins.
*The commission approved the following board of stewards for the Zia Park meet, which opens September 9: Violet Smith (presiding), Jill Cathey, and Ruben Rivera. The commission also approved the following Zia Park officials: John McGary (announcer) and Dr. Frank Anderson (commission veterinarian).
*The commission approved a 5-year revenue allocation agreement between Zia Park Racetrack and Ruidoso Downs Racing Inc. Representing Ruidoso Downs, attorney Billy Blackburn said that the proposed new ownership group plans to hold a board meeting on Friday, August 18, starting at 9 a.m. (MDT). He added that he hopes to bring the track’s proposed new owners to the next monthly commission meeting in September.
*The commission retroactively approved SunRay Park’s request to decrease purses on the following days: June 10, 11, 12, 16, 17,18, and 19.
*During the public comment period, NMHA president Larry Strain voiced his concern about samples being taken from racehorses at night. “We’re in favor of testing our horses, but we’re not in favor of samples being taken at night because it unnecessarily disrupts the routine of the horses and the people who care for them,” he said. “We would like the samples to be taken by 6:30 or 7 at night.”

In The News

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Nine stakes races, including two restricted to New Mexico-breds, were contested on Zia Park’s Wednesday’s “Land of Enchantment Day” program.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Two stakes for New Mexico-breds -- one for Thoroughbreds and one for Quarter Horses -- will be featured on Wednesday’s $1.303-million Land of Enchantment Day program at Zia Park.
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Jockeys Ry Eikleberry and Roimes Chirinos each rode the winners of two races during Sunday’s $2-million New Mexico Cup Day program at Zia Park.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
A total of 131 New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses has been entered in Sunday’s New Mexico Cup races at Zia Park. Purses for the 12 races -- eight for Thoroughbreds and four for Quarter Horses -- will exceed $2 million, once again making New Mexico Cup day the richest state- or province-bred day of racing in North America.




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