Santa Fe — Some of New Mexico's biggest drug dens are at its five horse tracks, the executive director of the state Racing Commission told legislators on Thursday. The commission is seeking a budget increase of almost $800,000, in part to test more racehorses for performance-enhancing drugs and to hire three more employees, including another track investigator.
“New Mexico has a drug problem,” said Vince Mares, who directs the Racing Commission's day-to-day operations. “I've identified people who have doped horses and caused the deaths of horses.”
Mares, testifying before the Legislative Finance Committee, said the underlying message of inadequate testing is that horse owners and trainers  “have to cheat to compete.”
State Sen. John Arthur Smith said afterward that Mares made a good case for adding money to the Racing Commission's budget.
“If we're going to attempt to salvage the industry, I'd say the chances are probably pretty good that it will happen,” said Smith, D-Deming.