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Report from May 2017 NM Racing Commission Meeting
RSS Feeds Thursday, June 8, 2017
The New Mexico Racing Commission held its monthly meeting at its headquarters at SunRay Park Racetrack and Casino on Thursday, May 11.
New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association executive director Anna Fay Davis gave the commission the final race-a-day report for the 72-day Sunland Park meet, which ran December 16-April 18. During the Sunland meet, the track carded 309 New Mexico-bred races, 242 for Thoroughbreds and 67 for Quarter Horses. By comparison, Sunland Park carded 269 state-bred races -- 209 for Thoroughbreds and 60 for Quarter Horses, during its 2015-16 meet, which was shortened to 61 days.
An average of 4.29 New Mexico-bred races per day have were run during the 2016-17 Sunland Park meet, a decrease of 2.7 percent from the 4.41 state-bred races per day during the track’s 2015-16 season.
Also, during the Sunland Park season, a total of 450 New Mexico-breds competed in open overnight races, of which 120 (27 percent) finished first, second, or third. Of this total, 91 were Thoroughbreds and 29 were Quarter Horses. Bonuses totaling $88,625.90 were paid to the owners of these horses.
Ms. Davis added that, during the Sunland meet the track carded 270 New Mexico-bred overnight races.
“There were 2,595 New Mexico-breds that were scheduled to participate in these races,” she reported. “This is an average of 9.61 New Mexico-breds per race.”
Ms. Davis also gave the commission the race-a-day report for the first eight days of the 36-day SunRay Park meet, which opened April 21. During this period, the track carded 18 New Mexico-bred races, 10 for Thoroughbreds and eight for Quarter Horses. By comparison, SunRay Park carded 15 state-bred races -- five for Thoroughbreds and 10 for Quarter Horses -- during the first eight days of its 2016 season.
An average of 2.25 New Mexico-bred have been run during the first eight days of the 2017 SunRay Park meet, an increase of 19.7 percent over the 1.88 state-bred races per day during the track’s 2016 season.
Ms. Davis added that, during the first eight days of the SunRay meet, the track carded 13 New Mexico-bred overnight races.
“There were 109 New Mexico-breds that were scheduled to participate in these races,” she said. “This is an average of 8.38 New Mexico-breds per race. We are working with the director of racing (Lonnie Barber) to get the average up to three before the meet is over.”

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New Mexico Horsemen’s Association (www.newmexicohorsemen.com) executive director Pat Bingham thanked Lonnie Barber for hosting the NMHA’s awards banquet at SunRay Park. The banquet honored the New Mexico award winners from the 2015 and ’16 seasons.
Mr. Bingham also told the commission that the University of New Mexico is conducting an economic impact study for the state’s racing industry, and that the NMHA is distributing a quarterly newsletter to its membership.
Mr. Bingham added that the NMHA supports the concept of mixed meets at New Mexico tracks and the 60/40 (percent) splits between Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races.
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Commission executive director Ismael “Izzy” Trejo said that he attended the opening-day program at SunRay Park, which was held April 21. The commission’s safety walk-through at Ruidoso Downs, which he attended, was held on May 8. On May 1, Mr. Trejo conducted some interviews for the open position of commission investigator.
Also, the commission’s equine disease protocols were changed, effective May 11. A health certificate for horses traveling intra-state must have been issued within the last 30 days. All health certificates must be issued at the point of origin for the horse; in the event of an outbreak, the 72 hours will be required for health certificates.
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New Mexico Horse Breeders’ Association president Ralph Vincent and American Quarter Horse Association chief racing officer Janet Van Bebber both expressed concern to the commission regarding the plans of two tracks to apply for all-Thoroughbred meets for 2017-18.
Mr. Vincent also presented to the commission a petition, which basically asked the commission not to cut racing opportunities for Quarter Horses next year.
One petition signer specifically spoke against a reduction in Quarter Horse races.
“I am not happy with the request from the two racetracks,” the signer stated. “The major reason the New Mexico state legislature allowed gaming was to support the horse-raising industry in the state. The cutting of Quarter Horse racing in the state is not something that I would ever support and should not even be considered.
“I am sure many more legislators feel the same way and would be looking at keeping this from happening,” the signer added. “The racehorse industry needs to be supported at all levels to provide the important economic benefits to the state and its residents. I strongly object to the consideration of this proposal against Quarter Horse racing in the state of New Mexico.”

Ms. Van Bebber reminded the commission that the AQHA sponsors the six “integrity teams” for enforcement during many big racing events in New Mexico, including the All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.
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Also at the meeting:
*The commission approved the following board of stewards for the Ruidoso Downs meet, which opens May 26: Violet Smith, Jill Cathey, and Ruben Rivera.
*The commission approved the following board of stewards for the Albuquerque Downs meet, which opens June 24: Ron Walker, Martin Hamilton, and Linda Salinas.
*The commission approved Dr. Frank Anderson to work as the official state veterinarian for the first week of the Albuquerque Downs meet. Mr. Trejo said that he will announce who will complete the season at a later date.
*The commission approved an amending of the SunRay Park stakes schedule to cancel the New Mexico Breeders’ Stakes (RG3) for state-bred 3-year-old Quarter Horses, which was scheduled to be run on May 12.
*The commission approved the application of Matt Crawford to serve as racing secretary during the Zia Park meet, which runs September 9-December 12. The commission also approved the amending of the closing dates for some of the track’s stakes, as well as the track’s stall application.
*The commission approved the jockey and exercise rider insurance policy for Ruidoso Downs. The premium for the policy decreased 25 percent from 2016.

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The next New Mexico Racing Commission monthly meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 15, at the commission headquarters in Albuquerque, beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit the commission's website at http://nmrc.state.nm.us, or call (505) 222-0700.

In The News

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.
Monday, October 23, 2017
The New Mexico Racing Commission held its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Albuquerque on Thursday, October 12.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Horsemen are reminded that nominations close on November 1 for five 2018 stakes at The Downs at Albuquerque.

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