12/09/2004 1:00AM

Two elected to head NYRA board

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Steven Duncker and Peter Karches, who served as co-COO's of the New York Racing Association for just over a year, were elected on Wednesday as co-chairmen of NYRA's Board of Trustees. The two will replace Barry Schwartz, who will step down as NYRA's chairman at the end of the year.

Duncker and Karches served as co-COO's from October 2003 - when Terry Meyocks resigned as president and COO - until last month, when Charlie Hayward was named president and CEO.

Duncker and Karches have played vital roles in the last year as NYRA has had to work with a federal monitor in the wake of a federal indictment for tax fraud. The two will work with Hayward as NYRA attempts to get its franchise renewed to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. The franchise is set to expire at the end of 2007.

"NYRA has made a lot of progress over the past year toward restoring its profitability and credibility, and it is my hope that we will be able to continue that trend," Karches said. "Moreover, I look forward to working closely with the federal monitor to further improve NYRA's business practices.''

Duncker, 46, is a retired Goldman Sachs partner and managing director. He also serves as chairman of the Graded Stakes Committee.

Karches, 52, retired from Morgan Stanley after a 25-year career, where, among other roles, he was the company's president before its merger with Dean Witter Securities.