La Mesa Racetrack and Casino at Raton filed for an injunction to halt the application process for the state’s last racing license, a move that Quay County Gaming Authority officials are calling frivolous.
“This is their last desperate effort to stop the application process,” said Warren Frost, executive director of the Quay County Gaming Authority.
La Mesa filed for an injunction on June 1 in Colfax County District Court.
The injunction asks the court to stop the New Mexico Racing Commission from giving away its license to another racetrack operator.
“I would be shocked if a judge granted them the injunction,” Frost said.
The New Mexico Racing Commission will continue to accept applications until they receive a court order to stop, said Racing Commission Deputy Director India Hatch.
Hatch said the commission agreed with the hearing officer’s findings that La Mesa’s license had expired.
“This meant they no longer held a license,” Hatch said. “With the license being expired, the commission moved to open the application for the last license.”
La Mesa’s petition for the injunction states that the racing commission revoked La Mesa's license for inappropriate reasons.
The racing commission cited two reasons for the revocation. First, La Mesa failed to obtain a license to operate gaming machines from the New Mexico Gaming Control Board. The state gaming board voided La Mesa’s gaming operator license on May 4, 2010, because they had not held any horse races.
La Mesa appealed this decision and requested a hearing officer review the information.
A state hearing officer ruled in favor of state board’s decision to void the license.
La Mesa also failed to hold horse races by Memorial Day 2010.
La Mesa argues they submitted dates for horse races on April 15, 2010 and those dates were neither approved nor denied by the racing commission.
Hatch said the submission made by La Mesa was actually a request for an extension on their existing race dates. She said they wanted to push the dates back into the fall.
“There had been several delays in the track’s development,” Hatch said. “La Mesa’s request for the race date extension was made at the same meeting they had their horse barn contracts approved.”
Hatch said La Mesa’s progress was far behind their initial proposal and agreement of holding races by Memorial Day 2010.