Quay officials submitting application for state’s last racing license

Thomas Garcia

An application for the state’s last racing license is ready to be submitted, said Warren Frost, executive director of the Quay County Gaming Authority.

Frost said Don Chalmers and Coronado Partners, LLC, will submit their license application to the New Mexico Racing Commission on Wednesday with the intent of developing a racetrack and casino in Tucumcari.

“I am a longtime supporter of rural economic development in New Mexico,” said Don Chalmers. “We believe that Coronado Park will bring much needed employment and economic opportunity to Tucumcari and Quay County, and look forward to developing this racetrack and casino if given the opportunity.”

Frost said the full application showcases Coronado Park’s regional appeal, attracting racing and gaming fans from West Texas, especially Amarillo, and bringing much needed economic activity to Tucumcari and surrounding communities.

Frost said the proximity of the Tucumcari racetrack to Texas and Interstate 40 provides easy access to customers from Texas and won’t affect tribal gaming operations or other tracks.

Coronado Partners’ plans to develop the $60 million Coronado Park on 300-acres, featuring live racing from May to August each year during the heart of the triple-crown racing season nationally, and 600-slot casino within Tucumcari city limits on Historic Route 66 and I-40. The site’s location within the city limits means that all utilities and ancillary infrastructure are now available.

“The City of Tucumcari is thrilled to work with Mr. Chalmers and Coronado Partners to make Coronado Park a reality. This project has the potential to transform the economic climate of both Tucumcari and Quay County and have an incredibly positive impact on the state of New Mexico as a whole,” says Tucumcari Mayor Jim Witcher. The Villages of Logan and San Jon will also participate in the project.

While no specific timetable for evaluation of its application has been established, Coronado Partners believes it has made a strong case for the viability of Coronado Park in Tucumcari.

“At this time we believe we are the only entity to apply for the license,” Frost said. “There are still six more weeks left in the application progress.”

The application includes economic impact studies conducted by New Mexico State University and the Innovation Group, which project increased employment and gross receipts taxes collected in the area would help the community bolster its services and quality of life.

If granted the license, Coronado Park will create approximately 300 jobs with an annual payroll of nearly $9 million, Frost said.

“The creation of jobs will be on of the biggest benefits to our area,” said Quay County Manager Richard Primrose. “This project looks to improve the economic status of both county and city residents.”

If approved, Coronado Park plans to open for the 2013 racing season featuring a 56-day meet.