01/19/2006 1:00AM

Prairie Meadows chief leaving post

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Bob Farinella, the president, CEO, and general manager of the Racing Association of Central Iowa, which operates Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino, announced his retirement Wednesday.

Farinella, 60, has served as president at Prairie Meadows since November 1994, shortly before the track installed slot machines in April 1995.

Jack Bishop, the chairman of the board of the racing association since 2004, will serve as acting chief executive upon Farinella's retirement, which becomes effective Feb. 17. A national search will be conducted to fill the position permanently, according to the track's director of marketing, Tom Manning.

Farinella's retirement comes in the middle of a planned $60 million expansion project at the track, scheduled to be completed in 2007. Last month the racing association made approximately $9 million in cuts to the project, but the expansion is still expected to come in around $10 million over the original budget.