Breeders’ Cup president and chief executive officer Greg Avioli has resigned to take a new position with a racing and gaming company, Breeders’ Cup announced March 4.
Later on March 4, MI Developments chairman and CEO Frank Stronach announced Avioli had signed an employment agreement to be president and CEO of the racing and gaming division of MID.
“I look forward to implementing Frank Stronach’s vision,” Avioli said in a statement. “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with one of the great leaders of our industry, Frank Stronach.”
An MID release said Avioli’s appointment is an example of MID’s commitment “to providing the best racing, gaming, and entertainment experience to its customers while working with its partners to enhance Thoroughbred racing and wagering.”
Avioli has served as Breeders' Cup chief since 2006, when Breeders’ Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association had a joint operating arrangement. He began his career in horse racing with the NTRA as deputy commissioner.
The Breeders’ Cup board of directors will meet the week of March 6 to discuss an interim leader as well as a search for the chief executive’s position, the organization said.
“During a time when our industry on the whole was experiencing difficult economics, Greg played an integral role in making the Breeders’ Cup a stronger property and organization,” Breeders’ Cup chairman Bill Farish said in a statement. “On behalf of the Breeders’ Cup board, we thank Greg for his significant contributions and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
“With any decision like this there is the excitement of the new challenges ahead as well as deep appreciation for the opportunity that Bill and the Breeders’ Cup board have given me over the last few years,” Avioli said. “I’m very proud of the team that we’ve assembled and what we’ve been able to accomplish together.”
Avioli led Breeders’ Cup through major changes to the organization and its signature event, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, including its expansion from eight races on one day to 14 races over two days and formation of the international Breeders' Cup Challenge series of official qualifying races.
Pari-mutuel handle, attendance, revenue, and television ratings increased during that time.