08/28/2014 7:34AM

Gabriel leaves NYRA to return to Dubai

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Frank Gabriel, hired in February to be the racing secretary at Belmont Park and Saratoga, is leaving the New York Racing Association and returning to Dubai, where he had spent the previous nine years as the CEO of the Dubai Racing Club, which operates Meydan Racecourse.

Gabriel confirmed his decision to leave NYRA to Daily Racing Form earlier this week. His last day at NYRA is Thursday, when entries are being taken for the final two cards of the Saratoga meet.

Gabriel, who is expected to hold the title of vice-president of racing for the Dubai Racing Club, said Dubai has been a "special place" for he and his wife, Christine.

“I enjoyed and missed the wonderful environment and relationships I had at Meydan and the Dubai Racing Club," Gabriel said. "I look forward to returning to Meydan. Even though I briefly departed, the passion and energy of rejoining that team is stronger than ever.

“I appreciated my opportunities here. This is a fantastic racing circuit with great horsemen.”

Gabriel was one of two racing secretaries brought on board by Martin Panza when he became NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations last November. Dan Eidson, who had worked as an assistant to Panza at Hollywood Park, came to NYRA last January as the racing secretary for Aqueduct, which operates from November through April. It is expected that Eidson will serve as the interim racing secretary for the Belmont fall meet, which begins its 38-day run on Sept. 5.

The Dubai racing season at Meydan begins in November. Meydan hosts the Dubai Racing Carnival from Jan. 8 through March 28, concluding with a rich card topped by the $10 million Dubai World Cup, which will be run for the 20th time in 2015.