Handel Leaves Greenwood; New COO of NYRA

Handel Leaves Greenwood; New COO of NYRA
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Hal Handel

Hal Handel, a longtime executive with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and Greenwood Racing, has accepted the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer of the New York Racing Association effective Sept. 10.

Handel, 60, has served as chief executive officer of Greenwood Racing since 1998. He oversaw the renovation of Philadelphia Park’s grandstand in 2000 and the development of New Jersey’s first off-track wagering facility, “Favorites in Vineland,” which opened this spring. He also was involved in the company’s account wagering and off-track betting operations in Pennsylvania.

Most recently, Handel had stepped down from his duties at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack to focus on Greenwood’s New Jersey operations, which include development of OTB parlors and Atlantic City Race Course, which could be revitalized on a smaller scale.

At the NJSEA, Handel was general manager from 1986 to 1991 and executive vice president and COO from 1991 to 1998. He was involved with both Meadowlands and Monmouth Park.

“I have known Hal Handel for more than 20 years and consider him one of the very best racing executives in the country,” NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said in a statement. “Hal brings to NYRA a broad portfolio of experience including account wagering, off-track betting, horsemen’s relations, and strong leadership skills. He will be a huge addition to the NYRA management team.”

Handle has a two-year contract with NYRA, officials said.

“I am honored to join the superb management group NYRA has put together,” Handel said. “Through the leadership of chairman Steve Duncker, an activist board of trustees, and CEO Charlie Hayward, NYRA has reinvented itself at the very highest levels of accountability and integrity and has a brilliant vision for leading the racing industry in the United States. I share their commitment to make that vision a reality.”

Handel, who with his wife, Sheila, has residences in New Jersey and New York, comes to NYRA at a time of uncertainty for the organization. NYRA’s franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga expires Dec. 31, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer has yet to make a decision on the next franchisee.


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