05/14/2006 11:00PM

Savin out, Micucci in at Gulfstream


MIAMI - Scott Savin, who has served as president and general manager at Gulfstream Park for the past six years, has been replaced by Paul Micucci, track officials announced on Monday. Micucci had served as vice president of track owner Magna Entertainment Corp.'s gaming division since 2003.

Savin's tenure at Gulfstream included the renovation of the racetrack, beginning with the demolition of the grandstand following the conclusion of the 2004 meet. Because of construction, the 2005 meet was conducted under tents and other temporary quarters, resulting in a sharp decline in ontrack attendance and handle. Those figures increased dramatically in 2006 despite the fact that the new building was only partially completed when the meet opened in January.

Savin, along with racing secretary Dave Bailey, also instituted several changes to the racing schedule, most notably shifting the meet's cornerstone event, the $1 million Florida Derby, from its traditional spot in mid-March to the first Saturday in April. The decision drew criticism because it placed the Grade 1 race five weeks out from the Kentucky Derby, yet the 2006 Florida Derby winner, Barbaro, went on to win the Kentucky Derby on five weeks' rest.

Savin had also been involved in ongoing contract negotiations with the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association over the distribution of the take from slot machines, which were legalized in Broward County this year. Gulfstream can begin offering slots at the track this summer, but not without a signed agreement with the horsemen.

"I enjoyed my time at Gulfstream and working with Frank Stronach, and believe in his vision for Gulfstream Park," said Savin. "Right now my immediate plans are to head to Boston and do what I love best - watch the Red Sox at Fenway Park. After that I'm looking forward to the next challenge, which includes being more active as an owner and spending more time involved in the game at the racing level."

Savin is a third-generation horseman. His family campaigned a series of prominent horses, including Mr. Prospector, under the nom de course of Aisco Stable, while Savin was the owner of large stable that included 1992 Florida Derby winner Technology. Savin previously served as the executive director and secretary treasurer of the National HBPA and president of the Florida HBPA.

Micucci became head of Magna's gaming division in March 2003. He had previously served as vice president of slots and racetrack operations for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. for 4 1/2 years.