06/29/2011 3:56PM

NYRA: Handel to resign as chief operating officer


The New York Racing Association announced Thursday that Hal Handel, chief operating officer, will resign his position and leave the company at the end of the Saratoga race meet in September.

“I have been managing racetracks continually for more than 25 years, and the time has come to do some different things,” Handel said in a statement. “This decision was made before the Kentucky Derby, and the timing was agreeable to NYRA.”

The racing association did not name a replacement.

Handel, 63, joined NYRA in September 2007, filling the role vacated by Bill Nader. He has also held important management jobs at Philadelphia Park, Monmouth Park, and the Meadowlands. He served as chairman of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, president of Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and trustee of the American Horse Council. Handel was a deputy attorney general in New Jersey and also a member of the New Jersey Racing Commission.

“I have known Hal for nearly 25 years, and he is one of the best racing executives in the country,” said Charles Hayward, NYRA’s president and chief executive officer. “In his four years with NYRA, he has made significant contributions in many areas, including the facilities, horsemen’s relations, simulcasting, marketing, and customer service. His presence at NYRA will be missed, and we wish him the best of luck in all future endeavors.”