07/11/2001 12:00AM

RCI picks Powell as head

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Lonny Powell, a consultant to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and a former vice president of Magna Entertainment, has been asked to head up the Association of Racing Commissioners International, officials said Wednesday.

If negotiations on an employment contract are successful, Powell will succeed Tony Chamblin, who resigned as president of the RCI on July 1 after 15 years at the helm of the regulatory organization. The RCI plans to vote on a contract for Powell at its convention in late August.

Powell has previously held managerial positions at Santa Anita Park, Turf Paradise, Longacres, and Multnomah Greyhound Park. He has also served as the director of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program. He is currently the NTRA's legislative and regulatory affairs consultant.

Powell was among three candidates who were being interviewed for the position. The others were Bennett Liebman, a former member of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, and Roy Wood, the executive director of the California Horse Racing Board.

The RCI, an umbrella organization for racing commissions, has been fractured over the past five years by a number of defections from the organization. The dissatisfied members, many of whom had complained about the compensation package awarded to Chamblin, eventually formed a rival organization, the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association.