Court halts license process

Thomas Garcia

Quay County’s effort to land the state’s last racing license was halted Friday when Raton District Judge John Paternoster granted an injunction to La Mesa, the original license holder.

“We respect what the court has said, though we do not agree with it,” said Warren Frost, executive director of the Quay County Gaming Authority.

Frost said the application submitted to the New Mexico Racing Commission has been placed on hold until the injunction is resolved or set aside.

“Coronado Partners, LCC, will explore their legal options in the next week to 10 days,” Frost said.

Paternoster’s ruling ordered the New Mexico Racing Commission to stop taking applications for the state’s final racing license until La Mesa’s appeals can be heard.

The Racing Commission could not be reached immediately for comment.

La Mesa has filed two appeals in the Court of Appeals regarding the revocation of their gaming license. The first appeal was filed after the New Mexico Gaming and Control Board revoked La Mesa’s gaming license in May 2010, citing their alleged failure to build a temporary casino or prove they had adequate money and failure to hold horse races.

Then in February, the New Mexico Racing Commission ruled La Mesa’s racing license had expired. La Mesa filed another appeal of that decision.

“What the injunction means is the Racing Commission can not and will not accept any more application for the State’s sixth racing license,” said Racing Commission Deputy Director India Hatch.

Hatch said the commission is on hold until the appeal cases are heard. She said no date has been set for the appeal hearings, which will be heard in Raton District Court, the same court where the injunction was granted.