Covid-19 and Horse Racing. New Mexico to resume racing in April

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The commission that oversees horse racing in New Mexico announced Monday that live racing is set to resume in April now that public health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic are being eased in some places around the state.

The five licensed tracks and their associated casinos have been hit hard over the past year. After a brief hiatus last spring, races resumed at Ruidoso Downs in May and The Downs at Albuquerque and Zia Park conducted live meets last summer but did so while their casinos remained closed.

Without revenue from slot machines and tables, purse money was reduced in 2020 to a fraction of what it was the previous year.

Under the revised public health order issued last week by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, large entertainment venues such as racetracks will be permitted to operate depending on whether the counties in which they are located meet the state’s benchmarks for COVID-19 positivity rates and new per-capita cases.

Opening day at SunRay Park in northwestern New Mexico is scheduled for April 23. Commissioners plan to vote on the track’s purse schedule, post times and other details that will clear the way for racing during their March 18 meeting.

Racing officials expect the purse accounts to recover with influxes of revenue not seen in nearly a year…

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