Update On 'Moving Grandstand'

Published: November 22, 2018 12:22 pm EST

A bit of a peculiar story appeared on the Standardbred Canada homepage a few months ago, as a racino proposal that included a ‘moving grandstand’ was unveiled. The idea raised a few eyebrows, and now a feasibility study by the prevailing racing commission has commented on the concept.

According to the study, the New Mexico Racing Commission contracted the Convergence Strategy Group to conduct a feasibility study on the communities of Clovis, Lordsburg and Tucumcari in regard to the potential issuance of a sixth racing licence in the State of New Mexico. A total of five development locations and associated licence applications were evaluated in the study.

Through extensive research, comparative analysis and independent forecast models, the study projected the potential impacts of each proposed development. The study didn’t make recommendations in terms of the selection of applicants, but it provided insight into the scope, objectives, benefits and challenges of a sixth racing licence.

The feasibility study did mention some of the positives and negatives it saw from each of the proposals.

This past August, Full House Resorts unveiled its proposed ‘La Posada del Llano,’ a destination resort that would include a racetrack, casino, luxury hotel, 18-hole golf course, water park, and other amenities. It was announced that the proposed racetrack would feature Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing and a ‘moving grandstand,’ described by Full House as a unique feature that would transform how fans experience live horse races.

Full House stated that, similar to a tram or streetcar, the moving grandstand would feature stadium seating for hundreds of guests and travel at the same speed as the racehorses. It would circle the track and offer spectators a unique close-up view of the horses for the entirety of the race.

When it came to Full House’s La Posada bid, the feasibility study mentioned a few concerns and positives in particular.

The study outlined that of all the proposals, the La Posada would offer the largest combination of stalls, races, and would offer “the best potential available total purses.” The study also outlined that the La Posada bid indicated flexibility in terms of selecting dates and a willingness to work with all related parties for the benefit of the state’s horsepeople.

To the chagrin of those that are fully behind the idea of the moving grandstand, the study did not exactly endorse the innovative concept.

When it came to the evolved grandstand, the study stated, “The ideas in the bid related to the moving grandstand are intriguing, but do not seem feasible from a cost and safety standpoint.”

Izzy Trejo, the executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission, has said that the NMRC will decide if a sixth licence will be awarded, and to which applicant, by December 31 of this year.

(With files from the New Mexico Racing Commission and the Convergence Strategy Group)

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