03/06/2018 1:00PM

Nader headed back to Hong Kong


Bill Nader, the former New York Racing Association executive, is headed back to Hong Kong.

A little over two years after leaving his position as executive director of racing for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Nader has been re-hired as the association’s director of racing, business operations, he said. He leaves on Friday to start work on Monday, March 12, under a new three-year contract.

“It was a really tough decision,” Nader said on Tuesday morning. “I had a couple of things here [in the U.S.] that were attractive. I know the term ‘world-class’ is overused, but the Hong Kong Jockey Club is really a world-class organization, and it’s an exciting time for them.”

Nader was hired shortly after his replacement, Tony Kelly, announced his resignation, citing “personal reasons.”

Nader was granted citizenship in Hong Kong during his nearly nine years at the HKJC in his former position.

Nader had been in talks to serve as the president and chief executive officer of Colonial Downs in Virginia should the track re-open. Last week, the Virginia legislature passed a bill allowing Colonial to operate historical horse racing machines, a decision that is likely to lead to the re-opening of the track, according to Virginia horseracing officials.

Nader said he was excited about the Virginia job but that the pull of Hong Kong was too attractive. The HKJC is scheduled to open a new state-of-the-art training center on mainland China this year, and Nader said that the opening would usher in a new era for the HKJC.

“It’s a place that has 7 ½ million people and horse race betting outperforms the lottery by 17 times,” Nader said. “The passion for horse racing there is very strong.”

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the chief executive of the HKJC, told the South China Morning Post that the organization was pleased to have Nader back on board.

“The natural person for the role was Bill because he is familiar with the situation,” Englebrecht-Bresges was quoted as saying. “He loves Hong Kong, he loves Hong Kong racing, and he has huge credibility with stakeholders.”