Updated on 06/07/2011 4:38PM

Breeders' Cup: Fravel leading candidate for president's position


Craig Fravel, the president and general manager of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, has become a leading candidate in Breeders’ Cup’s search to name a new president and chief executive officer, according to several racing officials.

Fravel has emerged as a leading candidate following recent interviews conducted by a search committee put together by Breeders’ Cup to find a new chief executive after the resignation earlier this year of Greg Avioli, the organization’s chief executive for the previous five years. The full Breeders’ Cup board is expected to be presented with a recommendation for the new chief executive at a board meeting on July 14, if not sooner.

Although Breeders’ Cup officials declined to comment this week on details surrounding the interviews, an article on the Paulick Report posted on Monday night identified Fravel and five other people as finalists for the position. According to the article, the others include Carter Carnegie, the Breeders’ Cup current executive vice president; Len DeLuca, a former programming executive for ESPN; Robert Elliston, the current chief executive of Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky; William Nader, a former New York Racing Association executive who is the current executive director of racing for the Hong Kong Jockey Club; and Mark Wilson, the former chief executive of Television Games Network.

Jim Gluckson, a spokesman for Breeders’ Cup, said the organization would not comment about the search or confirm the identities of any individuals interviewed by the search committee.

“We will not comment about anything as long as the process is ongoing,” Gluckson said.

Tom Ludt, the chairman of the full Breeders’ Cup board and its search committee, did not return phone calls.

A member of the Breeders’ Cup board said last week that the search committee has yet to distribute a list of candidates to the board for review. The board member, who asked not to be identified, said that the board was expected to be given a list of “at least two or three candidates” prior to being presented with the search committee’s final recommendation.

Over the past week, several California racing officials have said that Fravel is considered the top candidate for the job. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday, Fravel said that it would be “inappropriate” to comment about the Breeders’ Cup search.

“It’s a Breeders’ Cup issue, and it is their process,” Fravel said.

Fravel was hired by Del Mar in 1990 as the track’s legal counsel. He was appointed general manager and president of the track last year.