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Racing in New Mexico seems to go back to around 1938 when non wagering races were run at the New Mexico State Fair at Albuquerque. Pari-Mutual was approved around the mid forties and in 1946 the first pari-mutual meet was held in Raton at La Mesa Park. Albuquerque also began wagering that year. In 1947 Ruidoso Downs was added to the lineup to round out the forties.

 Things remained status quo until 1959 when Sunland park opened outside of El Paso. Santa Fe Downs opened in 1971 and that's how things would be until the nineties.

By the time the nineteen nineties arrived racing was in a downturn not only in New Mexico but across the country. La Mesa was the first to suffer when it closed it's doors in 1992. Santa Fe Downs followed in 1997. Seeing an alarming trend New Mexico quickly approved racino style gaming which was already turning around eastern tracks. In 1999 Sunland Park became the first Racino to operate in New Mexico. Since Racinos became legal new tracks were added Sun Ray Park in Farmington and Zia Park in Hobbs.

New Mexico's history finishes with an ironic twist of fate as La Mesa Park which was never destroyed was granted a Racino license beating out Santa Fe Downs and a couple of other contenders and will become New Mexico's newest track in 2010.

Unfortunately the twist had a few more turns, after securing the bid, La Mesa failed to meet deadlines during the project and had their license revoked. As of the end of 2013 no new racino license was awarded in New Mexico.