10/18/2012 5:19PM

Cuomo names Cornell president to chair new New York Racing Association board


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday afternoon appointed David Skorton, president of Cornell University, to chair a newly constituted board of directors at the New York Racing Association.

Skorton is a cardiologist, professor of biomedical engineering, and a professor in the Weill Cornell Medical College’s Department of Medicine and Pediatrics. Cornell is the home to a leading equine hospital, and the university formerly conducted drug-testing on behalf of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

“Horse racing is an integral part of our state’s culture and economy, and I am honored to be joining the talented members of the New York Racing Association Reorganization Board to improve the industry for the horses, jockeys, backstretch workers, horse owners, and bettors and all who enjoy racing and make it happen,” Skorton said in a press release distributed by the governor’s office.

Along with Skorton, Cuomo also appointed seven other members to the board, plus a “special adviser” for Saratoga. The state’s Senate also announced its two appointments as did the Assembly. Of the 13 appointments, five were members of NYRA’s previous board.

One of the board’s first duties will be to conduct a “national search” for a chief executive and a general counsel, the release said. NYRA’s former chief executive, Charles Hayward, and its former general counsel, Patrick Kehoe, were fired earlier this year.

Cuomo’s other appointees are Bobby Flay, the celebrity chef and horse owner; Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival; Leonard Riggio, chairman of Barnes and Noble; Anthony Bonomo, chief executive of Administrators for the Professions and the founder of Brooklyn Boyz Stable; Vincent Tese, executive chairman of Bond Street Holdings; Joseph Spinelli, managing director of Navigant; and Robert Megna, the state’s budget director. John Hendrickson, the breeding and racing manager of Marylou Whitney Stables, founded by his wife, will serve as the special adviser for Saratoga.

The Senate appointed Michael Dubb, founder of Beechwood Organization and a horse owner; and Earle Mack, an owner-breeder who is the senior partner of the Mack Company. The Assembly appointed Michael J. DelGuidice, chairman of Rockland Capital Energy Investments; and Rick Cotton, executive vice president of NBCUniversal.

Riggio, Bonomo, Hendrickson, Dubb, and DelGuidice were all members of NYRA’s previous 25-member board, which is being dissolved to make way for the new 17-member board as part of an effort by Cuomo to exert more influence over NYRA’s operations. The board was created by legislation passed earlier this year.

According to officials who have knowledge of the list NYRA submitted to the governor, NYRA’s five appointments, which have yet to be announced, are Steven Duncker, the board’s former chairman; Stuart Janney III, the owner-breeder; Stuart Subotnick, a horse owner who is a media executive; Charles Wait, a bank executive from Saratoga Springs; and Barry Ostrager, president of New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. and the owner of Questroyal Stud in New York. All five were members of the previous board.

carl & vale More than 1 year ago
what no Phipps ? Did the World stop spinning ?
carl & vale More than 1 year ago
Sal Carcia More than 1 year ago
This board is stacked with people who will protect the governor's agenda. Putting someone with little or no horseracing experience in the chairman position is a curious decision. I continue to feel this not good for horseracing.
Brian Taylor More than 1 year ago
This list is better than I thought it would be. So far,so good.
Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
The announcement of the majority of the members of this Board actually makes most everyone breathe a sigh of relief. Most of us were worried that the members were going to be political hacks bent on taking down horse racing in New York just so that the State could get its hands on the casino money involved. Are there some better options? In some cases there might be, but, by and large, the group assembled are horse racing insiders who know the difficulties the activity is undergoing and all have vested interests in improving all aspects of thoroughbred racing. I applaud Gov. Cuomo for having resisted the temptation of going after the easy score and actually putting in the effort to try to save AND improve racing in New York. As to those who complain that no member of "the betting public" was taken into account, I do believe that is a valid point. The options would be limited, though, to the people who run betting services such as tvg or expressbet/drfbets. I am pretty sure no one is thinking that Joe Q. Public would be taken from the grandstand at Belmont and placed on the Board. Thar would be naive and foolish. Some have said idiotic statements such as "broken down horses will be served by Bobby Flay." As if to imply that Mr. Flay could care less about a horse's health because he is a chef. Nice to know the conspiracy theorists are alive and well. Now, please leave the forum, you guys still haven't fulfilled your previous tasks of finding Elvis alive, confirming who shot Pres. Kennedy and/or finding Pres. Obama's "real" birth certificate.
Robert More than 1 year ago
Wow some of them may actually know which end of the horse to feed and which end to have the help clean up after.
mikey More than 1 year ago
The DR is the only one who can answer that question.And Bobby Fillay will know how to serve them in his so called restaurant's.Put his peppercorn sauce on a cheap claimer and it become's a 60 $$$ meal.Same game different player's.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Mikey, this along with your other comments on the subject have you coming across as a bit whiny, which does nothing for your credibility.
tom More than 1 year ago
what about director of security and chief of security? kenneth cook and bruce mcaleavy were one of the most corrupt guys to serve. Oh and they were appointed by the state
walter goode More than 1 year ago
nyra will be eating good at the board meetings.
kmunster2003 More than 1 year ago
Excellent point by Mikey in that the Senate appointed Michael Dubb. He is one of the "super" owners who employs Rudy Rodgriguez, Anthony Dutrow and Chad Brown(chemical warfare users). The first two are golden "off the claim". A euphemism for first time new drugs in racetrack parlance by the way. In a way it is like the wolf guarding the chicken coup. Other "super" owners by the way are Frank Calabrese, Midwest Thoroughbreds , Gary Barber and Ken Ramsey. All boettors must paly them first"off the claim.
Adam More than 1 year ago
oh wow you are a cool racing insider pointing out to all of us clueless people that "off the claim" is a subtle way of saying "first time new drugs" on track; thanks tough guy where would racing be without you make sure to keep us educated. maybe you should have been appointed to the board!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Bobby f'n Who?
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Actually Bobby Flay is a very active owner and breeder with a surprisinngly in depth knowledge of horses and racing. He's apparently a pretyy good business man too. Probably a solid pick.