New panel will consider bids for New Mexico racino license

in People

The governor replaced a panel of regulators Thursday to oversee New Mexico’s horse racing industry amid a legal battle centered on the state’s sixth and final license for a racetrack and casino.

The New Mexico Racing Commission’s newly appointed five members will decide the contentious competition for the lucrative license that includes a contested feasibility study on the economics behind the five proposals under consideration.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she expects the commissioners to be fair and equitable.

“These five individuals are experienced and knowledgeable, and I have every confidence they will ably regulate and promote the continued development of this industry,” she said in a statement.

The appointments include two members who previously served on the panel as well as others who have been involved in the industry for years.

• Beverly Bourguet was a commission member from 2011 to 2015 and is a founding member of the Downs at Albuquerque Chaplaincy. She breeds and raises quarter horses and races quarter horses and thoroughbreds.

• David “Hossie” Sanchez, owner of San Bar Racing LLC, was a commissioner from 2003 to 2009 and has served on the State Fair Commission since 2009.

• John Buffington, former chief operating officer of the San Juan Regional Medical Center, has decades of experience as an owner and breeder.

• Freda McSwane, an attorney from southern New Mexico, is an owner and breeder.

Construction company owner Billy G. Smith has been involved in the racing industry since the 1970s. He also has served on various boards for the American Quarter Horse Association.