Updated on 01/16/2014 5:49PM

Aqueduct: Dan Eidson named racing secretary


Dan Eidson has been hired as the racing secretary for Aqueduct, one of two racing secretaries the New York Racing Association will employ in 2014, according to Martin Panza, senior vice president of racing operations for the organization.

Panza said the announcement of a racing secretary for the Belmont Park and Saratoga meets is still about two weeks away.

Panza, who came here from Hollywood Park in November, believes that having one person writing condition books for 52 weeks a year of racing is “too much to ask of one person.” Typically, NYRA has employed only one racing secretary, most recently P.J. Campo, who last month left NYRA to join the Stronach Group as vice-president of racing. From 1995-97 NYRA employed Howard Battle as racing secretary during the Saratoga meeting.

“Hats off to P. J. and [Mike] Lakow for doing it for all these years. I think it’s better to split it up,” Panza said. “Certainly, the salary is split up too.”

Eidson will work in the racing office during the Belmont and Saratoga meets, Panza said.

Eidson, 63, follows Panza from Hollywood Park, where he was assistant racing secretary to Panza and the track’s stakes coordinator. When Panza took the job at NYRA, Eidson was elevated to racing secretary for that track’s final meet.

Prior to working at Hollywood Park, Eidson worked as racing secretary at Golden Gate Fields for 18 years and spent 2002 at Delaware Park.

“He’s been with me for a long time at Hollywood Park so there’s a comfort level there,” Panza said. “Hopefully, he understands my philosophy, which is try to make the book [go], stay away from writing a lot of extras, which we’re getting there a little bit at Aqueduct, but it’s going to take a little bit of time. It’ll be more in place at Belmont.”

Eidson said he doesn’t anticipate making too many changes to New York’s racing program right away.

“Obviously, the racing program here is completely different than the racing program we’re used to in California,” Eidson said. “The year I spent at Delaware Park sort of introduced me to what to expect. It’ll take a month or two - maybe sooner - to get a good line on what works, what doesn’t work.”

The first condition book Eidson will write will be for the races starting Feb. 14.

Charles Jenda More than 1 year ago
Danny Eidson can't possibly be 63 years old. WTF. Congrats and best of luck. NYRA has picked a winner. Chuck Jenda
Greg Brent More than 1 year ago
I worked with Dan Eidson at Golden Gate Fields while he served as Racing Secretary here. He is a total professional....committed to excellent racing. He was also a great guy to work for and with. Martin Panza is a brilliant Racing Executive and he definitely has a plan in the works for New York racing. Dan has worked closely with Martin as Stakes Coordinator at the recently shuttered Betfair Hollywood Park. No doubt he will have a year-round role in New York racing even if he serves as Racing Secretary for only the Aqueduct meeting. New York is very fortunate to have these two fellows directing their horse racing. Best of luck to Dan Eidson in this new position.
Richard Land More than 1 year ago
Get rid of most races restricted to NY Breds. Would increase field size, allow for some new blood to participate in NYRA racing, and enhance the value of the NY Bred horse. Seriously, a no brainer.
Thorobred Racing More than 1 year ago
As long as they keep writing races for the benefit of Jacobson & Rodriguez, their jobs are safe. Want to congratulate OETIZ for his ride on the 4 horse in the last race at Aqueduct yesterday. Disgraceful.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Nowwe're getting somwhere.GETERDONEDAN!
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Obviously either a bot or someone's account has been HACKED!!
michael More than 1 year ago
Hopefully he will understand the differences in the grades of horses which run at Aqu both in the winter and later winter on the big track. And we'll get away from odds on favorites all the time, and competition will strengthen. And please get the Gotham Stakes back on the main track where it belongs, and off the inner track.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
While the quality does improve on the main track somewhat in March and April, most trainers after Gulfstream head for Kentucky for the Keeneland meet and then Derby week at Churchill. A lot of them are not fully back in New York until after the Derby, so the real improvement doesn't come until early in the Belmont spring meet. One thing I would put the emphasis on at Belmont: Fewer turf sprints (while they obviously are popular with bettors) and a greater emphasis on races at 1 1/4 Miles or more that has not been there in recent years, including having incentives to trainers to run their horses at 10 furlongs or more with purses higher than they are for races at a mile to 1 1/8 Miles. Also, any race on turf at 1 1/4 Miles or more moved to the main track as I would do it would NOT be shortened on the main track. I would make them run the same distance on dirt as on turf like it used to be done.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
I meant "while turf sprints are obviously popular with bettors, not everyone wants to see as many as we do now."
mikey More than 1 year ago
Well i guess it is too much to ask someone todp his job at NYRA.
WWW More than 1 year ago
I like the new (traditional) condition book...NW2/NW3.....hope you stick with it
Marshall Cassidy More than 1 year ago
Wow! I don't know about this strategy. Seems a bit optimistic to think New York's horsemen will coordinate equally with two different racing secretaries on the same property with only a calendar to distinguish each. Forty-three years ago, when Kenny Noe was trying to infiltrate the NYRA backstretch from Garden State Park while Tommy Trotter was running the show, nothing but conspiracy and jealousy emerged from everyday operations. Both men competed for the same stables, though only one was legitimate in New York. I wonder how Mr. Panza expects New York horsemen and shippers will communicate with the two racing secretaries as independent officers of a year-round operation during those months leading up to a succeeding NYRA meet. Yes, of course the men will work together publicly, but how about assigning stalls, developing stakes race progressions and keeping promises? Can Mr. Panza prevent the two from competing with one another and forming factions? How about each racing secretary's assistant: Will Mr. Panza's plan necessitate a more complicated rotation of office staff, complicating office harmonies and pay rates? Mr. Eidson may very well work in the racing office during both the Belmont and Saratoga meets to keep him interested, but at what level... entry clerk? Stakes coordinator? Assistant racing secretary? Mr. Panza should be credited with creative thinking. However, I think his professional strategy to this extent leaves a lot to be desired, and too much room for stupid office problems that risk NYRA-horsemen relations. If NYRA really intends to set standards across the Racing spectrum, administrative continuity ought to be more highly valued with excellence expected from one cohesive racing department and one racing secretary, work demand be damned. Those January New York horsemen often strive to become August New York horsemen; business relationships shouldn't be stratified by whim.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
This is a different time and place. Aqueduct is now a vastly different meet from those at Belmont and Saratoga in ways that was NOT the case in the days of Kenny Noe and Tommy Trotter. Especially with the purses considerably lower during most of Aqueduct and how most top trainers head for Florida for the winter (after Thanksgiving) and usually are not back in New York until after Derby week the following spring, having different racing secretaries deal with different horses makes sense now where it may not have in the past. I don't see the same kind of problems now that may have been the case of earlier eras given each will be for the most part dealing with different kinds of horses.
Marshall Cassidy More than 1 year ago
Such is apparently Mr. Panza's thinking, though I stand by my thoughts. Your remembering how horsemen shipped south from New York until the following spring differs now only in that Aqueduct remains open and is not closed December through April. The obstacles to good horsemen relations and office staff considerations ought to be avoided rather than enhanced for the good of Racing.