Serving the High Plains

Racing panel to act on Tucumcari application next month

The New Mexico Racing Commission last week announced a date when it will accept or reject an application from Coronado Partners that wishes to build a casino and horse-racing track in Tucumcari.

Commission Chairman Sam Bregman announced at the end of the commission’s meeting Thursday it would make a decision on the license application during its next regular meeting on Oct. 20.

Coronado Partners principal and Logan attorney Warren Frost, who attended the meeting Thursday, said he asked the commission whether he could make a presentation on behalf of Coronado at that time. It declined that request.

Asked Friday to summarize his feelings about the meeting next month, Frost said: “Hope for the best; prepare for the worst.”

Coronado Partners wants a horse-racing track and casino on Tucumcari’s east side that would employ at least 500 people and generate up to $55 million in revenue by 2025.

The commission faces a court-imposed deadline of Nov. 2 to act on the Coronado application.

Albuquerque District Court Judge Nancy Franchini in June initially ordered the racing commission to act within 90 days on whether to accept or reject Coronado Partners’ license request. Both sides later agreed to a 90-day extension to comply with the order.

Franchini affirmed Frost’s request for a writ of mandamus against the commission. A writ of mandamus asks a court to compel another entity to perform its official duties, including making decisions on license applications. Coronado Partners has sought such a license for years.

She rejected arguments from commission director Ismael “Izzy” Trejo during a hearing where he claimed the commission could not award the sixth and last remaining horse-racing license because of a variety of issues, including the fragility of the thoroughbred and racing industries in New Mexico.

Frost previously told the Quay County Sun if the commission rejects the application, he will appeal the decision back to Franchini.

“If she finds that the Commission’s reasons for denying the license are invalid, she can order them to issue us a license,” Frost wrote in an email in June.

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