MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE NEW MEXICO HORSEMEN'S ASSN.

2016 IN A NUT SHELL

Pat Bingham

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF OUR MEMBERS AND ANYONE ELSE WHO READS THIS BLOG.  ITS BEEN AN EXCITING AND CHALLENGING YEAR TO PUT IT MILDLY.  FIRST WE  HAD THE QUARANTINE AT SUNLAND PARK DURING ITS WINTER/EARLY 2016 SPRING MEET.  THE  EHV-1 VIRUS ATTACKED WITH A VENGEANCE LEAVING NUMEROUS BARNS IN QUARANTINE.   THOUGH COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED AND WITHOUT  PRECIDENT A MIGHTY EFFORT WAS SUMMONED TO BRING THE VIRUS AND FUTURE CONTAMINATIONS UNDER CONTROL.  

THIS WAS A TEAM EFFORT BETWEEN HORSEMEN, SUNLAND PARK STAFF, THE RACING COMMISSION, THE STATE LIVESTOCK BOARD,  THE HORSE BREEDERS, VIRUS EXPERTS,  OTHER TRACKS AND TRAINING CENTERS WITH ALL DOING THEIR PART TO BRING THE VIRUS UNDER CONTROL.  AS A BY- PRODUCT OF THIS EFFORT,  THE STAKEHOLDERS CAME UP WITH POLICIES AND PROCEDURES TO APPLY TO FUTURE OUTBREAKS IF AND WHEN THEY OCCUR.    RACING RESUMED AT SUNLAND PARK LATE INTO THE MEET AND WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THAT. WE ARE ALSO GRATEFUL THAT ADDITIONAL RACE DATES WERE AGREED TO BY THE NMRC SO THAT A NUMBER OF LOST RACING OPPORTUNITIES COULD BE MADE UP AT SUNLAND PARK.  HORSEMEN DID THEIR PART AND ENTERED IN GREAT NUMBERS.

THE SPRING MEET IN SUNRAY PARK WAS AFFECTED BY THE QUARANTINE AS WELL AS THERE WAS AN OVERLAP BETWEEN RACING AT SUNRAY AND AT SUNLAND PARK THAT LEAD TO SOME DIFFICULTIES AT THE ENTRY BOX.   ONCE RACING GOT GOING IT PROVIDED GREAT ENTERTAINMENT AND  EXCITING MOMENTS FOR OUR FANS.  A BLEMISH ON THE RACEMEET AT SUNRAY WAS THAT A STATUTE INVOLVING A NEW MEXICO GAMING CONTROL ACT VARIANCE REGARDING ENTRIES CAME INTO PLAY.   THE VARIANCE PROVIDES FOR AN EXCEPTION TO A 9 RACE CARD WHERE THE RACES IN THE CONDITION BOOK CANNOT BE FILLED.   THE VARIANCE WAS APPLIED AT SUNRAY WHEN SUNRAY WAS  PERMITTED TO RUN A 7 RACE CARD.  THE LOST RACES WERE NOT RE-CARDED BY THE TRACK RESULTING IN LOST OPPORTUNITIES FOR FANS AND HORSEMEN ALIKE. THE NMHA IS LOOKING AT OPTIONS WHERE THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.  

RUIDOSO PROVIDED EXCITING RACES WITH ITS FUTURITY STAKES AND GENERALLY EXCELLENT QUARTERHORSE RACING.  THE GAMING CONTROL VARIANCE AGAIN CAME INTO PLAY THOUGH WHEN ANOTHER  7 RACE CARD WAS FILLED.  AS A RESULT OF THIS AND OTHER MATTERS AFFECTING THE RACING INDUSTRY IN NEW MEXICO A RACING SUMMIT WAS HELD AT RUIDOSO.   ATTENTION WAS PLACED ON A NUMBER OF TOPICS INCLUDING FILLING RACES AND THE CONTINUING PROBLEM IN NEW MEXICO HAVING TO DO WITH "MEDICATION" USE IN RACE HORSES.   THE PARTIES, HORSEMEN, BREEDERS AND RACING AUTHORITY,  PROVIDED VALUABLE INPUT WITH REGARD TO A NUMBER OF THE  ISSUES THAT WERE DISCUSSED DURING  SUMMIT 1, 2 AND MOST RECENTLY NUMBER  3 WHICH TOOK PLACE ON 12/19/16.    FOR EXAMPLE ALL INVOLVED, HORSEMEN, BREEDERS, THE RACING COMMISSION AND RACETRACKS AGREE THAT WE MUST ACHIEVE AS NEAR AS POSSIBLE TO  A ZERO MEDICATION/SUBSTANCE RULE VIOLATION LEVEL IN THIS STATE ASAP.  A DRUG DETECTION POLICY WHICH PROVIDES FOR  TESTING OF THE RACEHORSE'S HAIR FOR SUBSTANCE USE APPEARS TO HOLD THE MOST PROMISE FOR FUTURE REDUCTION OF SUBSTANCE USE AND ABUSE IN THE RACE HORSE AND TO DETER THE USE AND ABUSE OF CHEMISTRY IN THE RACEHORSES THAT RUN IN NEW MEXICO.

THE DOWNS AT ALBUQUERQUE MEET BROUGHT NIGHT RACING TO NEW MEXICO.  THE MEET WAS A GREAT SUCCESS.  WITH A NEWLY RENOVATED DAA GRANDSTAND AND TURF CLUB IN HAND AS WELL AS GREAT RACING UNDER THE STARS,  MANY  NEW FANS HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED TO THE SPORT.   BEING AT A VENUE IS BETTER THAT ANY WORDS TO DESCRIBE IT.  WE INVITE EVERYONE TO COME TO THE DOWNS AT ALBUQUERQUE DURING THE UPCOMING 2017 SUMMER/FALL RACEMENT TO ENJOY ITS FACILITIES, THE EXCITEMENT AND SPLENDOR THAT IT OFFERS.  KUDOS TO THE CONNECTIONS AT THE DAA AND TO THE HORSEMEN WHO EMBRACED NIGHT RACING.

THE ZIA PARK FULL MEET WAS A SUCCESS.   OF CONCERN THOUGH WERE THE NUMBER OF MEDICATION POSITIVES THAT WERE REPORTED.   AS NOTED BEFORE, USING HAIR TESTING  AS A PRIMARY TOOL TO SCREEN (BUT NOT ASSESS CULPABILITY TO AN OWNER OR TRAINER) SHOULD PROVIDE THE NECESSARY FOCUS ON THE PROBLEM TO GET IT UNDER CONTROL.  A POSITIVE HAIR SAMPLE ONLY MEANS THAT THE HORSE HAS INJESTED THE SUBSTANCE IN THE RECENT PAST-IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT HAS PARTICIPATED IN ANY RACE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE.  PROPERLY USED AS A TOOL TO FOCUS ON THE PROBLEM SHOULD LEAD THOSE TEMPTED TO VIOLATE THE RULES TO THINK AGAIN. 

AND THAT BRINGS US FULL CIRCLE.   SUNLAND PARK IS RUNNING ANEW.   THE RACING AND THE SUNLAND PARK FACILITY ARE TOP NOTCH AND OF COURSE CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR ARE UPON US.

TO ALL,  MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY YEAR!!!!!!!       FELIZ  NAVIDAD Y PROSPERO ANO NUEVO!!!!!

SINCERELY,  PAT BINGHAM


PS SEND US YOUR EMAILS SO THAT WE MAY SEND YOU FUTURE BLOGS AS THEY ARE POSTED.  IN ADDITION HAVING YOUR EMAILS ON HAND WILL HELP US TO EMAIL THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION OUT TO YOU.  THIS WOULD INCLUDE ANY NEWLY PUBLISHED RACING COMMISSION RULES THAT AFFECT OUR SPORT.   SEND THEM TO NHHASTATE1@AOL.COM