01/01/2010 12:00AM

New secretary has rich racing background

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - For the third time in as many years, Gulfstream Park will begin a meet with a newly hired racing secretary.

Dan Bork, 40, has come from his Kentucky home to Florida for the winter, having risen to the most prestigious position yet in his 17-year career in racing. Bork follows Dave Bailey (2001-07), Bill Couch (2008), and Doug Bredar (2009) in what apparently has become a hot seat at Gulfstream, where an 80-day meet begins Sunday and where pleasing a wide variety of constituencies is not always the easiest of tasks.

"Horsemen come to Gulfstream from a lot of different places and are looking for a lot of different kinds of races for their horses," said Bork. "We'll do our very best to meet their needs."

You could call Bork a scion of a racing family, but he wouldn't necessarily like it. Bork puts on no airs. His low-key demeanor is well-suited to the sometimes frantic and chaotic machinations housed within a major racing office such as Gulfstream's. He can be decisive and firm, yet he exudes a certain calmness and competence that horsemen should find reassuring.

"Dan comes with excellent credentials, is well thought of, and has demonstrated a high level of competency," said Gulfstream racing manager Bernie Hettel.

Bork is the son of Bob Bork, whose approximately 40 years of experience as a racing administrator date back to the old Keystone Park in Philadelphia, and the nephew of Bill Bork, the longtime president of Penn National. Dan grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Kutztown (Pa.) University in 1992 with a degree in business management. He got his first jobs in racing the next year at Garden State and Atlantic City, then moved shortly thereafter to Chicago to work at Arlington Park, where his dad was next in command under chairman Richard Duchossois.

Bork then grew into various positions in the racing offices of all five Kentucky tracks. He still serves as an assistant racing secretary at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, and since August 2006 has been the racing secretary at Ellis Park. As the single father of an 8-year-old daughter, Rebecca, and 5-year-old son, Owen, Bork will burn up the phone lines back home to Louisville this winter, all the while keeping his fingers on the Gulfstream pulse.

"This is a very demanding job, but I feel I've been very well prepared for it," said Bork. "The horsemen who race in New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Florida, and other racing states make Gulfstream the world-class track that it is. It's my duty to maximize on what we get from them by presenting our fans with the best racing product we can possibly give them."