11/28/2007 12:00AM

Raffetto leaves Maryland Jockey Club

EmailLou Raffetto, the president and chief operating officer of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, has left the Maryland Jockey Club, effective immediately, according to an announcement late Wednesday afternoon from Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of the two tracks.

Magna said in a release that Raffetto had left "to pursue other opportunities," but the company did not elaborate. Raffetto did not return a phone message.

Raffetto is being replaced by Chris Dragone, who was most recently the executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. and a former general manager of Great Lakes Downs and Portland Meadows. Dragone also served as the senior vice president and general manager of the two Maryland tracks, reporting to Raffetto, for a brief time in 2006.

Raffetto has worked in Maryland since 2001, and was named president in early 2006 after serving as chief operating officer of the two tracks. Previously, he was the general manager of Suffolk Downs in Boston, where he established a reputation as a hands-on executive who could manage both horsemen's and bettors' interests.

Earlier this month, the general assembly in Maryland approved a referendum that will ask voters in November 2008, whether slot machines should be allowed at five sites in Maryland, including Laurel Park. Pimlico was left out of the legislation.