Vince Mares, who guided the New Mexico Racing Commission through some difficult years since coming onboard as executive director in 2009, has stepped down from that position.
Mares, who retired as chief of police in Raton, N.M., before joining the commission, said his resignation gives him “an opportunity to enjoy my retirement,” though Mares added he would be doing “some law enforcement work” on a part-time basis.
Under his leadership, the New Mexico Racing Commission adopted model rules from the Association of Racing Commissions International, got significantly increased funding for drug testing, and contracted with the Maddy Laboratory at the University of California at Davis to conduct drug testing.
New Mexico was hit hard by the New York Times investigative series, “Death and Disarray at America's Racetracks,” and has been ground zero for cheating in both Quarter horse and Thoroughbred racing with such drugs as dermorphin, ractopamine and other illegal medications polluting the sport. Major races, including the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, have been tainted through allegations of influence by Mexico's cartel.
The misuse of clenbuterol – both the FDA-approved syrup and a compounded variety known as “holy water” – led the commission to ban its use entirely.
But Mares has been frustrated in recent years as the court system repeatedly granted stays to suspended licensees, making many of the tough sanctions moot.
“We were recognized for raising the bar,” Mares said. “It's been a team effort and I've enjoyed working with people in this industry. This is a great opportunity for me and I wish this industry all the best.”
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