Updated on 02/21/2014 2:32PM

Gabriel returns to New York as racing secretary at Belmont, Saratoga


Frank Gabriel, a longtime U.S. racing official who has spent the last nine years in Dubai, has been hired by the New York Racing Association to run the racing office during the association’s meets at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

Gabriel, 59, will be returning to NYRA 15 years after he served two years as the association’s director of racing. Gabriel was also the racing secretary for 16 years at Arlington Park near Chicago, among stints at other tracks during his long career. He was hired by the Dubai Racing Club in 2005, and during that time, he oversaw the development of Meydan Racecourse, the luxurious track at the center of a sprawling multi-use complex that opened in 2010 in Dubai.

The hiring of Gabriel as racing secretary is the third major change to the racing department at NYRA since the hiring of Chris Kay as NYRA’s chief executive in July 2013. Late in October, Martin Panza, the vice president of racing and racing secretary at Hollywood Park, was hired to run the association’s racing department, displacing longtime racing director P.J. Campo. In January, Panza hired Dan Eidson, Hollywood’s racing secretary, to be racing secretary at Aqueduct and assistant racing secretary at Belmont and Saratoga.

Eidson will remain racing secretary at Aqueduct, NYRA said in a release. The release described Gabriel’s job as “seasonal,” and said he would start at NYRA in mid-April.

Gabriel said in an e-mail that he will be resigning from the Dubai Racing Club after the racing season ends this year and will “return back home.” The last card at Meydan, which includes the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup, is scheduled for March 29.

“After a remarkable nine years with the Dubai Racing Club, I look forward to working with the horsemen and the NYRA management team to bring the fans the best quality racing program at the Belmont and Saratoga meets,” Gabriel said separately, in a release.

NYRA has announced significant boosts to stakes purses for the spring-summer Belmont meet this year, including the creation of two new million-dollar races, and it has dramatically reshuffled the dates of its existing stakes. Last year, NYRA’s board voted to increase the prices of admission at both Belmont and Saratoga, and this year, management said that prices for tickets to the Belmont Stakes would also be increased.