By Chelle Delaney, Freedom New Mexico
The New Mexico Racing Commission will announce which city will receive the state’s sixth racing license at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 25 at its Albuquerque offices, according to officials from Quay County who attended today’s commission meeting.
The commission met in closed session at its regular meeting to discuss which group — Raton, Tucumcari or Santa Fe — would get the license.
Julina Luna, agency director for the racing commission could not be reached for comment.
Principals from Coronado Partners, which wants to develop a racetrack and casino in Tucumcari, and representatives from the Santa Fe and Raton groups also attended the meeting, according to Warren Frost, who is the executive director of the Quay County Gaming Authority.
Tucumcari supporters of the racetrack say it would be an economic boost to the area, providing an initial investment of $60 million, a projected payroll of $8.9 million and 400 full-time and part-time jobs, including 100 construction jobs. Coronado Park is projected to make $12 million in operating revenue the first year, according to Coronado’s proposal.
During the public session of the commission’s meeting, the commissioners did not request any additional information from the groups, Frost said.
The commissioners did tell the groups that they could submit any additional information to go with their applications in writing next week, said Frost, adding that Coronado Partners would make a submittal.
“We’ve have hundreds of pages of documentation that we’ve submitted with our application,” Frost said. “And we will be sending them an executive summary stating why we think Tucumcari is the best site for the license.”
Meanwhile, representatives from the state’s five racetracks have written to the commission in support of Raton’s application over Tucumcari and Santa Fe.
Paul Blanchard, principal of Albuquerque Downs track, is behind the other four tracks’ support of Raton, Frost said. Earlier this year, the racing commission approved a request from Albuquerque Downs to move its license to Moriarty.
“He’s trying to build support to protect his Moriarty investment,” Frost said.
The Moriarty track will draw attendance from the Albuquerque metropolitan area, and not from West Texas, where Tucumcari foresees most of its draw, Frost said.
“Putting the racetrack in Tucumcari is in the best interest of New Mexico horseracing and under those circumstances we should be the winner,” Frost said.