NYRA appoints Frank Gabriel Jr. as head of racing operations

The New York Racing Association announced Thursday the appointment of Frank G. Gabriel, Jr. as senior vice president of racing operations. Gabriel succeeds Martin Panza, who departed NYRA in October 2021, and will assume his responsibilities on Feb. 3.

Gabriel is deeply experienced in thoroughbred racing having served as CEO of Dubai Racing Club from 2005-2014 and, most recently, as the Executive Director of Racing for Dubai Racing Club from 2014-2020.

As CEO, Gabriel oversaw the project to construct Meydan Racecourse, which opened in 2010 featuring a 60,000-seat grandstand, five-star hotel and numerous restaurants and amenities. Gabriel then led the transition of the Dubai World Cup Carnival and Dubai World Cup from Nad al Sheba to Meydan Racecourse. Since its completion in 2010, Meydan has become one of the world’s premier racing and entertainment venues.

The appointment marks a return to NYRA for Gabriel, who was Director of Racing from 1998 to 1999 and Racing Secretary for Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course in a seasonal capacity in 2014. Gabriel also spent 16 years at Arlington Park, serving as Vice President of Racing Operations from 2003 to 2005; and worked previously in various capacities at Timonium Race Track, Keystone Racetrack [now Parx Racing]Atlantic City Race Course, Meadowlands Racetrack, Garden State Park, Hialeah Park and Gulfstream Park.

“We are pleased to welcome Frank Gabriel back to NYRA at this important time in the history of the organization,” said NYRA President and CEO David O’Rourke. “His passion for racing is matched by a deep knowledge of the current dynamics of the sport. Frank is a proven leader with expertise in nearly every aspect of racing who will continue the successes achieved at NYRA in recent years.”

As SVP of Racing Operations, Gabriel will be responsible for leadership and oversight of racing functions at NYRA, including the overall development, planning, and execution of NYRA’s premier stakes offerings, marquee events and daily racing programs.

“NYRA is the premier racing circuit in the country, and it is a high honor to accept this position,” said Gabriel. “Our sport continues to evolve and change in meaningful and important ways, and I look forward to joining a team that successfully balances history and traditions while embracing the changes that will benefit the sport for decades to come.”

A native of Pennsylvania, Gabriel has served as a member of the Breeders’ Cup Selection Committee. In addition, he has been a member of the Dubai World Cup Committee, Meydan Management team, and Emirates Racing Authority.

In his more than four decades in the thoroughbred industry, Gabriel has served as well on the Asian Racing Federation Executive Council; as Vice Chairman of the International Grading and Racing Planning Advisory Board; as Chairman of the Asian Pattern Committee; as representative for the Emirates Racing Authority at the International Federation Horse Racing Authority Conference; and as Chairman of the UAE Pattern Committee.

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