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Albuquerque, NM  87113

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57 Years of Service to New Mexico’s Racing Industry

by Fabian Lopez

Joann Shepard started her State career with the New Mexico Racing Commission in May of 1964 and has been a pillar of the Commission ever since. Having served 57 years, retiring once only to return, she has seen it all. Governors have come and gone. Commissioners, Executive Directors, Stewards, and staff have passed through the doors, but Joann has remained committed to the racing industry and its thousands of participants over the decades. When asked what she enjoyed most about racing, “the people I work with, friends I’ve made and the excitement of watching the horses run”, she said.

Having spent time from Sunray Park in Farmington to Zia Park in Hobbs and every track in between, Joann has worked all racetracks in New Mexico. Even the foregone tracks of La Mesa in Raton and Downs of Santa Fe have been graced with Joann’s commitment and love of the industry. Sunland Park is where she spends her winter and much of her time as she resides in the area. On February 5th the Racing Commission and the Racetrack both honored her dedication to the industry. Sunland Park named a race in her honor and presented her with a gift in appreciation to her service. The Racing Commission also recognized her with a dinner and award.

Asked what keeps her motivated, she replied “Each day is different with new challenges”. With that her advice to others making their way through their career, “Learn everything about your position and share with all that are willing to listen.” Joann has been an irreplaceable asset to the State Racing Commission and the racing industry. We look forward to continuing learning from her and allowing her shining example to inspire us.

 

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