Lawyer Kay Expected to be Named NYRA Chief

Board trying to call meeting during week of June 17 to make final selection.

The New York Racing Association is trying to quickly call a board meeting for the week of June 17 to approve a new chief executive officer to run the three-track racing franchise now overseen by the state of New York.

While a host of names have been floated, including outgoing Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings, officials say Christopher Kay, a lawyer with no apparent background in racing,has the inside track. He is expected to be tapped as the executive to oversee the day-to-day operations of Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.

Kay's name has been advanced by several media outlets the week of June 10 following a NYRA board meeting at which most industry insiders were expecting the agency to name a new CEO to replace Charles Hayward, who was fired more than a year ago by NYRA during its takeout scandal.

Since then, the state has taken over control of the majority of the NYRA board during what is supposed to be a three-year restructuring period.

Kay's most recent post was chief executive officer of San Francisco-based The Trust for Public Land, a large conservation group that creates parks and playgrounds in urban areas. Among the group's New York work was a $467,000 grant by the Cuomo administration earlier this year to study creating a greenway in Queens on former rail lines. The group's tax filing last year show Kay had a total compensation package of $270,000 with the charitable group.

A Duke University law school graduate, Kay has also been a partner at law firms in Florida and held a post during a restructuring period at Toys "R" Us. He was also lawyer with Universal Studios.

NYRA officials have declined to comment on the possible appointment of Kay.

Sources say NYRA officials are trying to call a June 18 board meeting to select the new CEO.