03/14/2012 4:51PM

Avioli leaving Stronach Group


Greg Avioli, the former Breeders' Cup president who was hired approximately a year ago to head up Frank Stronach's new privately held racing company, has resigned effective April 1, the Stronach Group said in a release late Wednesday.

Avioli was appointed chief executive of the Stronach Group before its July formation, in March. The company was formed after shareholders of MI Developments, a publicly traded company, approved a deal transferring the company's racing and gambling properties to Stronach in exchange for Stronach giving up control of MI Developments. The properties had posted hundreds of millions of dollars in losses at MI Developments, which itself took the properties only after the bankruptcy of Magna Entertainment, another publicly traded company controlled by Stronach.

In a statement released by the Stronach Group, Avioli said that he "felt it was the right time to move on to new business ventures outside the company."

"It was a pleasure working with Frank Stronach, and the entire Stronach Group team over the past year, to reorganize this impressive group of racing and gaming properties," Avioli said.

Avioli did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Avioli's departure is consistent with a pattern of revolving-door managers at Stronach-controlled companies that have owned the racing assets since the late 1990s. Stronach himself served as chief executive for the companies three times after the departures of various heads.

Avioli, who got involved in racing in the late 1990s through the formation of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, had been the president of Breeders' Cup for five years before accepting the position with the Stronach Group. Before his involvement in the racing industry, he worked as a marketing official for professional golf and tennis.

The release from the Stronach Group did not state whether the company has selected a new chief executive officer.

The assets owned by the Stronach Group include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park, and Pimlico Racecourse. In addition, the company owns a casino at Gulfstream, the account-wagering company XpressBet, and a half-share in HRTV.