Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By David Grieder- David Stevens
Eastern New Mexico News 

Five apply for racino license

Clovis, Tucumcari and Lordsburg in the race


August 22, 2018

Warren Frost has long been convinced the race for New Mexico’s sixth racetrack/casino is between Clovis and Tucumcari.

He is even more convinced now that the New Mexico Racing Commission has announced only five groups met last week’s deadline to apply for the racino license — three from Clovis, one from Tucumcari and one from Lordsburg.

“This is all about Tucumcari and Clovis,” said the Quay County attorney who for more than a decade has been advocating for a racino in Tucumcari.

“Lordsburg is much like Raton ... They are on the border of Arizona and they have gaming in Arizona, so it won’t work in Lordsburg.”

Frost and proponents of a racino in Clovis contend they can attract large crowds from Texas, especially from Amarillo and Lubbock.

But the ultimate decision will be made by NMRC, which meets Thursday in Ruidoso to schedule where and in what order it will hold public meetings for community input.

A decision is expected by year’s end.

NMRC Executive Director Izzy Trejo said 11 groups submitted letters of intent earlier this month, but five tied to Raton and one from Las Vegas, New Mexico, failed to submit formal applications by Friday’s deadline.

The remaining contenders are:

• Logan’s Coronado Partners, LLC, which hopes to attract customers from Texas and along Interstate 40 in Tucumcari.

• Hidalgo Downs, LLC, out of Las Cruces, for a venue in Lordsburg, which claims 9 million residents in a 300-mile radius.

• Clovis Racetrack and Casino LLC, headed by Shaun Hubbard who was formerly affiliated with Ruidoso Downs.

• L&M Entertainment, which has been promoting Curry Downs Racetrack and Casino since May.

• And Full House Resorts, which announced Monday its Clovis plans include a luxury hotel, 18-hole golf course, water park and “other amenities” including a moving grandstand that would travel at the same speed as the racehorses, circling the track.

“How in the hell are they going to pay for all that?” Frost laughed when asked about the ambitious Full House proposal.

“I think ultimately everything that goes on around the track benefits racing. So some of that (Full House’s proposed amenities) could influence the racing commission,” Frost said.

“But at the same time, the people on the racing commission are business people and have a lot of common sense. Stands that follow the horses around the track doesn’t seem to be very realistic to me.”

Former Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield is part of Vision 2020, which is advocating for a racino in Clovis, but not siding with any of the three Clovis proposals specifically.

“I think all three bring something to the table. Any of them would be a win for Clovis. All of them have their strengths and evidently they all think Clovis is the best site,” she said.

The five formal applications are expected to be released on Thursday, officials have said.


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