The Hong Kong Jockey Club named Bill Nader, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the New York Racing Association, as its executive director of racing.
The HKJC made the announcement March 15, and Nader is expected to assume his new position April 23. He agreed to serve in his new role for a minimum of three years.
“The Hong Kong Jockey Club is one of the best racing organizations in the world and the best not-for-profit business model,” Nader said. “I am proud to have the opportunity to work with the Jockey Club and its team of world-class professionals. One of my main goals will be to revitalize the racing product and to continue improving the quality of horse racing. There are many challenges ahead, and I look forward to working with a strong team that shares a commitment to excellence.”
Nadar said he was initially contacted by a representative of the HKJC Jan. 11 about the new position.
"The call literally came out of the blue," he said. "I was initially interested, and honestly, I never thought it would go as far as it did. When it did and it came time to make the decision, it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be and finally, the more I looked at it and the more I thought about it, the opportunity to work with such a great organization on an international level, it was just too much to turn down."
In January, 1995, Nader was named director of simulcasting and television systems and became a NYRA senior vice president in December, 2000. He was named chief operating officer of the organization in August 2006.
Nadar said he expects to be involved with the international marketing of racing in Hong Kong as part of his new duties.
Nadar's move from NYRA to the HKJC comes at a time when there are plenty of questions surrounding the future of New York racing. New York Gov. Elliott Spitzer created a new panel to review and reopen the bidding process for parties interested in obtaining the franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga after a state-appointed Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing tapped Excelsior Racing to run the franchise in late 2006. Bidders have until March 31 to submit plans to the state. The governor expects to make a decision on the franchise near the end of May.
"It was very hard for me to decide to leave NYRA, especially given the situation there. I really wanted to stay and see the process through," Nadar said March 16 during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association teleconference. "The way I look at NYRA, I believe a reconstituted NYRA represents the best opportunity for New York racing. If the process works the way it should, then NYRA is the legitimate favorite to succeed itself as the new franchisee."
The HKJC and the Breeders' Cup recently signed an agreement to simulcast and offer wagering in a separate betting pool on the 2007 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) and the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT). The agreement also designates the Hong Kong Jockey Club Champions Mile (HK-I) as an official Breeders' Cup qualifying race under the "Win and You're In" designation of 24 races whose winners qualify automatically for their respective Breeders' Cup races. Breeders' Cup and the Hong Kong Jockey Club will also offer $1-million bonus to any horse that wins both the Breeders' Cup Mile and the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile (HK-I).