Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Location good argument for Tucumcari track


October 10, 2018

If crowd size and enthusiasm were determining factors, the New Mexico Racing Commission could have rubber-stamped a horse-racing license to Tucumcari well before the end of Thursday’s hearing.

It was hard for anyone to not be impressed by the more than 1,100 people who showed up at the Tucumcari Convention Center to express support for a proposed Coronado Park horse-racing track and casino on Tucumcari’s east side that would create 400 jobs. The presentation by Coronado Park’s principals often was greeted by spontaneous applause and even cheers. Out of more than 30 people who spoke before the commission Thursday, only one was against the racino.

The racing commission, however, states it will make a decision before year’s end on where to award a license not on crowd numbers and emotion, but how the site ultimately will benefit the state’s horse-racing industry.

Fortunately for Tucumcari, rational factors work in our favor.

As Coronado Partners principal Tom Krumland said at the hearing, “it’s location, location, location.”

Tucumcari sits next to Interstate 40, one of the nation’s busiest highways, and is linked directly to a lucrative Amarillo market. Many residents of the Texas Panhandle, which doesn’t allow gaming, would be less than a two-hour drive from Tucumcari.

Proponents also mentioned the site’s proximity to U.S. 54, another key link to Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, and historic Route 66, which brings thousands of tourists from all over the world each year. Nearby Ute Lake and Conchas Lake draw 600,000 visitors annually. All told, those roads and attractions bring many thousands of vehicles — and potential customers — to Tucumcari daily.

Placing a racino in Tucumcari also would not hurt other existing horse-racing facilities in New Mexico. As Coronado Park’s prospective general manager David Vance noted, Tucumcari sits more than 175 miles from any gaming site. “We’re not going to hurt anybody, and they’re not going to hurt us,” he said.

Coronado Partners also assembled a group of experienced and well-regarded professionals in the architecture, construction, gaming, banking, economic analysis and horse racing sectors for its bid.

Tucumcari’s racetrack would not be run by amateurs, which has to allay concerns by the commission.

Sue Dowell, speaking to the racing agency on behalf of the Quay County Commission, said Tucumcari is the “logical choice” for the license and added: “There is a time and a place for everything. Now is the time; Tucumcari is the place.”

No arguments here. The horse-racing community would certainly be welcome.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Editor David Stevens and Publisher Rob Langrell.


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