11/17/2009 12:00AM

Ruidoso seeks alternate site


Ruidoso Downs has filed an application with the New Mexico Racing Commission to move its 2011 meet to Las Cruces, N.M., in what would be an alternate plan for the track if it does not receive tax relief on its slot-machine operation during the state's upcoming legislative session.

Ruidoso, the home of the Grade 1 All-American Futurity for Quarter Horses, has raced for 62 years in the mountaintop town of Ruidoso Downs, N.M. The track does not yet have a facility constructed to move to in Las Cruces, one of the largest cities in the state.

"The request to move our racing dates is the first step towards finding another option to return our business to profitability, if we're not successful during the upcoming legislative season," Ann McGovern, the president of Ruidoso Downs, said in a release issued Tuesday.

Ruidoso has lost money since a third casino was added into its small marketplace, according to the release. There is currently a 26 percent state tax on racetrack casinos in New Mexico, while an additional 20 percent is tabbed for purses.

"We're asking the legislature to work with us to find a solution, such as a similar revenue sharing formula used for tribal casinos," said McGovern.

The legislative session begins in January. The state racing commission meets Thursday, but is not expected to take action on the Ruidoso application for 2011. The track, which has about 300 slot machines, intends to conduct its 2010 meet at its present site. The 60-date meet will open May 28 and race through Labor Day.