The New Mexico Horsemen’s Association has been accepted as an affiliate of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.
The NMHA previously wasn’t affiliate with an umbrella organization. NMHA president Terry Walker said joining the National HBPA would give horsemen more clout in New Mexico, where horse racing has become lucrative because of revenue from racetrack slot machines.
“We feel like it will bring up our organization in New Mexico,” Walker said. “We’re all about promoting racing.”
Susan Vescovo, vice president of the NMHA, said involvement by the National HBPA in industry-wide issues that affect horsemen proved attractive to the organization. “We’re a border state, and immigration is a big issue,” she said.
The National HBPA is working on programs designed to improve the immigration process and produce more backstretch workers around the country.
The NMHA represents Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse interests. The five racetracks in the state offer almost 300 days of racing per year in total, with statewide average daily purses of about $160,000.
The National HBPA board of directors unanimously accepted the NMHA as an affiliate during its Jan. 28 meeting in New Orleans.