Racing commission meetings canceled
June 26, 2019
The New Mexico Racing Commission abruptly canceled working session, committee and regular meetings scheduled for last week until further notice, possibly further delaying a decision on a sixth horse-racing license.
The commission by email announced the cancellations the afternoon of June 17, which was two days before its working-session and race-dates committee meetings and three days before its regular meeting.
“At this time I cannot give the specifics as to the reasons why the meetings were canceled, and at this time I do not know if they’ll be rescheduled or if we’ll roll into the July meetings,” the commission’s executive director, Izzy Trejo, told The Eastern New Mexico News, a sister newspaper of the Quay County Sun.
The agenda for the commission’s now-aborted regular meeting Thursday contained dozens of items but nothing about a sixth license. A total of five groups from Tucumcari, Clovis and Lordsburg have applied for the license to build a racetrack and casino.
Asked when commissioners would decide on a sixth license, Trejo said there were “currently no updates on the matter whatsoever.” Trejo reiterated the commissioners’ point at their meeting last month the license was “on the back burner.”
Warren Frost, one of the principals for Coronado Partners that wants to build an $80 million racetrack and casino in Tucumcari, couldn’t be reached for comment. He said after last month’s commission meeting he saw no reason to be pessimistic because it wasn’t dealing with the sixth-license issue right away.
“I think we’ll know more later,” he said. “I think it’s a matter of letting them get their feet wet and going from there. They seem to be very enthusiastic about being on the commission, and they’re willing to put forth as much work as they need to get it right.”
The commission’s next regular meeting date ordinarily would be July 18, although it had not been posted on its website.
The commission was poised to award a sixth license in December, but the Lordsburg applicant filed a request for an injunction to halt the decision. It alleged an independent feasibility study was flawed and that one of the commissioners had a conflict of interest with a Clovis applicant.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in April fired the commission and appointed five new commissioners. The new commission held its first meeting in May.