03/30/2006 12:00AM

Arlington names president

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Arlington Park has chosen Roy Arnold, a career military man with no experience in the racing industry, as Arlington's next president, the track and its parent company, Churchill Downs Inc., announced Thursday.

Arnold succeeds Cliff Goodrich, a longtime racing executive who spent two seasons at Arlington before resigning to return to California late last year. Goodrich had followed Steve Sexton, who now serves as president of Churchill Downs and Ellis Park.

Arnold, who will assume his post at Arlington on April 11, worked in the military for 30 years, according to a press release from Churchill Downs Inc. The release stated that Arnold "held leadership positions at home and abroad at every level of the Marine Corps and held command positions in such important military campaigns as Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom II." His most recent assignment was as assistant wing commander for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, 1 Marine Expeditionary Force.

The hiring makes sense in at least one context: Arlington chairman Dick Duchossois's own military background. In Churchill's release, Duchossois, who achieved the rank of major during his time in the military, compared the leadership skills of a military officer with those required of a racetrack executive "to navigate today's increasingly competitive business landscape."

Duchossois himself had been overseeing the nuts and bolts of Arlington operations since Goodrich's departure. The track also has a new director of racing, Kevin Greely, who arrived in Chicago earlier this year after a tenure as a major racing official in Dubai.

The 50-year-old Arnold is a native of Ithaca, N.Y., and received a bachelor of science degree before going on to earn two master's degrees, one in international relations, another in national security affairs. Arnold reportedly has been immersing himself in the business of running a racetrack, and a crash course is coming soon, since Arlington's 2006 racing season begins May 5.