01/09/2018 4:06PM

Sunland Park owner Stan Fulton dies

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Stan Fulton, an entrepreneur whose interests in gambling led him to purchase a New Mexico racetrack and several horses that went on to top-class careers, died on Jan. 4 in Las Vegas, according to multiple sources. Fulton was 86.

Fulton, a native of Maryland, owned a string of companies for several decades before founding Fortune Coin, the developer of the first video slot machines, in the 1970s. A decade later, he formed Anchor Coin, later known as Anchor Gaming, which operated casinos in Colorado and developed gambling machines.

Using the fortune he had built from his previous ventures, Fulton purchased Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino in New Mexico in 2000, and he remained the property’s owner at his death, according to a release from the casino.

Through his involvement with the racetrack, Fulton developed an interest in owning racehorses, usually by buying yearlings at auction. His best horses included A. P. Warrior, the winner of the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes in 2006; Fire Slam, the winner of the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Breeders’ Cup Stakes in 2004 (the race is now known as the Woody Stephens); and It’s No Joke, the winner of the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup in 2006.

Fulton’s best year in racing was 2006, when he had 45 winners from 267 starts and earnings of $2.3 million, according to Equibase. But he soon shuttered the operation, starting only one horse in 2011, and no horses after that year.

According to local reports, Fulton was a major donor to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, though he rarely made public appearances in the state. He also pledged $11.8 million to the city of Sunland Park to help establish a border crossing, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Fulton is survived by six children and 12 grandchildren, according to his obituary. Services will be held in his native Maryland.