Updated on 05/20/2013 5:24PM

Kenny Noe Jr., former NYRA chairman, dead at age 84


MIAMI - Kenny Noe Jr., former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the New York Racing Association, died Sunday evening following a long illness. He was 84.

Noe, the son of former jockey and trainer Kenny Noe Sr., began his career as a racing official in 1954 and continued in various capacities until announcing his resignation as CEO and chairman of NYRA's Board of Trustees during the fall of 2000. Noe had been hired as president of NYRA six years earlier.

Noe, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, planned on following in his father's footsteps, taking out his own trainer's license after graduating college in 1950. But after serving two years in the service, he became a mutuel clerk at Atlantic City, starting an administrative career that would last the next 46 years.

Noe accepted his first racing secretary's position at Arlington Park in 1962 and worked in a similar capacity at both Hialeah and Garden State Park beginning the following year. In 1972, Noe was named racing secretary and handicapper for NYRA, succeeding Tommy Trotter, and remained in New York for the next three years before moving on to Monmouth Park. He would later return briefly to be a steward in New York before taking on the role of Calder president and general manager in January 1979.

Noe would become a key figure in south Florida racing for the next 15 years, helping Calder grow steadily throughout his tenure while also being instrumental in starting the rich Florida Stallion Stakes Series, a fixture at the south Miami track since 1982.

During Noe's six years at NYRA, he oversaw major improvements at all three tracks, helped raise purses for horsemen, lowered state taxes on parimutuel wagers, and was generally acknowledged to be responsible for turning around the fortunes of the then-struggling non-profit association.

Noe is survived by his wife, Beth, a daughter, Holly, and his son Jeff, also a longtime racing official, who was recently hired as racing secretary at Gulfstream Park.

Visitation will be held Thursday, May 23, from 6-8 p.m. with a short service to follow at the Fred Hunter Funeral Home at 6301 Taft St. in  Hollywood, Fla.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in the name of Kenny Noe Jr. to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Program Inc. at Gulfstream Park.