09/07/2006 12:00AM

Huffman, Abbey hired by CDI


Churchill Downs Inc. on Thursday officially named Ben Huffman as the racing secretary at Churchill Downs and also announced that Sam Abbey will become the racing secretary at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Huffman, 37, will continue as racing secretary at Keeneland and yield the Fair Grounds post to Abbey. A Louisville native,

Huffman, 37, has worked most of his adult life as a racing official and assumed the Keeneland position in January 2002, shortly before the death of longtime racing secretary Howard Battle.

Churchill's hiring of Huffman, which was widely expected throughout the industry, comes less than two weeks after Doug Bredar was fired after 4 1/2 years on the job.

Abbey, 59, will continue to serve as the racing secretary at Delaware Park, a position he has held since 2002. Abbey served an earlier stint at Delaware, from 1984-86, and also has held numerous other positions as a racing official, including racing secretary at Hialeah and Atlantic City.

Abbey takes over at the Fair Grounds, which begins its four-month meet Nov. 23, during a critical rebuilding period. The 2005-06 meet was canceled because of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina at the track and throughout New Orleans.