MIJAS Hipodromo may have held its last race meet.
The local mayor made the shock announcement that the track will be sold or closed in an attempt to save money at a recent town hall meeting, although it had been rumoured for some time.
Angel Nozal said the decision will mean nine of the 18 people working at the racecourse will be made redundant.
“We cannot afford to lose €30,000 every time a race is held,” the Mayor said.
Although the current betting and racing system will be changed in 2013, the premises will still be used for other events, some linked to the equestrian sport. That includes the Final League of Dressage Andalucia 2012 on Saturday from 10am, in which 50 horses from throughout the region will be taking part.
This also includes the Sunday car boot sale and, possibly, Spanish thoroughbred horse racing, “which is a cheaper option than the current races,” Nozal said.
Approximately €700,000 has been invested in the Costa del Sol Racecourse, which opened 13 years ago, this year alone, although the yearly amount needed for it to function properly is closer to €1.4 million.
“The current system is just not an option and we are being forced to reduce the staff levels,” the mayor said.
He pointed the finger of blame at the fact that the Zarzuela Racecourse in Madrid has received a larger sum of money from the National Lottery authorities, as well as being assigned more dates for race meets.
“The July and August race meets in Mijas have been cancelled” the mayor said, “and we are only being given the money they have left over, even though Mijas racecourse receives more spectators than La Zarzuela. We can’t afford to spend more than €1 million per year 15 races just so some rich people can have a good time.”
The mayor has said that no good offers to purchase or rent the racecourse have been received so far.