The Virginia Racing Commission March 22 announced Bernard “Bernie” Hettel as its new executive director effective April 1.
Hettel previously was employed as racing operations manager for Gulfstream Park. He replaces Vic Harrison, who left in October 2010 for a management position with Penn Gaming National Gaming Inc. Deputy executive director David Lermond is serving as acting director during the vacancy.
“We hired him because of his background, ability, and experience,” said Clint Miller, who chaired his first meeting on the commission March 22. “We are looking to move racing forward to the next level in Virginia and thought Hettel was a good candidate as we are striving to make Virginia a destination location for racing.
"We want to take advantage of the turf course and Colonial Downs. He has a wide background, and we think he is a very good fit for where we want to go. We were impressed with him personally, and he has built a solid reputation in the industry. He came highly recommended from all sources during our hiring process.”
Hettel is a graduate of the University of Louisville and served as executive director and chief steward of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission from 1993-2004. His regulatory career began as an associate state steward in 1984, and was also senior state steward until 1993.