07/26/2016 1:57PM

Elliston named Keeneland director of racing and sales

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Courtesy of Keeneland
Bob Elliston was president at Turfway Park for 13 years.

Robert Elliston, the former president of Turfway Park who has been an executive at Breeders’ Cup since 2012, has been hired to the new position of director of racing and sales at the Keeneland Association, the company announced on Tuesday.

Elliston, who worked closely with Keeneland and central Kentucky racing constituencies throughout last year to prepare the track for hosting its first-ever Breeders’ Cup, will oversee those departments that were run by W. Rogers Beasley, the director of racing who retired in June, along with those that “provide support” to both the racing and sales operations, such as broadcasting, communications, and marketing, according to Keeneland officials.

“His extensive experience in the industry will be a tremendous asset as we continue to fulfill our mission of providing racing at the highest level while building upon our momentum as the world's largest and most successful Thoroughbred auction company,” said Bill Thomason, the chief executive of Keeneland, in a statement.

Prior to joining Breeders’ Cup as the company’s chief operating officer, Elliston was president of Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky for 13 years. He is a lifelong enthusiast of horse racing, and said in a statement that some of his first racing experiences occurred at Keeneland, a picturesque track in Lexington that holds two popular three-week meets each year. The company is structured as a not-for-profit.

“Today I am humbled and excited to be part of this special place and work alongside this tremendous team of professionals,” Elliston said.

Elliston will start at Keeneland on Aug. 29, the company said.

Geoffrey Russell remains Keeneland’s director of sales, according to company officials. Russell was named director of sales in 2002, at the same time that Beasley was mde director of racing. Last year, Walt Robertson, the company’s vice president of sales, retired, and his position was eliminated.