04/21/2016 3:36PM

Pat McKenna new NYRA director of communications


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Pat McKenna, a native of upstate New York, is the new director of communications and media relations for the New York Racing Association. McKenna, who began his role Tuesday, took over for John Durso Jr., who left the position in March to work for NBC in New York.

McKenna, 34, grew up in Loudonville, N.Y., about 30 miles south of Saratoga Springs. McKenna said he was a frequent visitor to Saratoga Race Course and was on hand to watch Triple Crown winner American Pharoah run in the Travers.

“I always had an appreciation for Saratoga Race Course as well as NYRA in general,” McKenna said. “I’ve seen firsthand not only the quality of the racing on the track but also the economic impact the racetracks have on the communities that surround them. This was an opportunity to work for what is the preeminent racing organization in the country.”

McKenna comes from the political arena. He worked as the traveling press secretary for N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine and as a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. McKenna worked as a media strategist for the Parkside Group, one of New York’s leading public-affairs organizations. Most recently, he was the director of external affairs for Hunter College in Manhattan.