02/09/2006 1:00AM

Raffetto president of MJC

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Lou Raffetto, the chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, has been named the president of the MJC, the jockey club announced Thursday.

Raffetto, who came to the MJC in 2001 after heading up Suffolk Downs in East Boston, is filling the president's position in place of Joe De Francis, the longtime president of the MJC who has recently taken on additional responsibilities with the MJC's majority owner, Magna Entertainment Corp. Raffetto will remain the MJC's chief operating officer, the jockey club said, and De Francis will continue to retain the title of chief executive officer.

The MJC owns Pimlico Racecourse and Laurel Park in Maryland, along with the Bowie Training Center.

In addition to Raffetto's new title, the MJC has named Chris Dragone, the former general manager of Magna's Portland Meadows, to be the jockey club's senior vice president and general manager. Dragone will report to Raffetto, the MJC said.

* In other Maryland news, the Maryland Department of Agriculture on Thursday lifted a hold order on one of two barns at Pimlico that remain under restrictions because of an outbreak of equine herpesvirus, a highly contagious disease that attacks a horse's upper respiratory and neurological systems. The other hold order is not expected to be lifted until Feb. 13, MJC officials said.