Two Churchill Downs Inc.-owned racetracks - Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds - have named Ben Huffman and Sam Abbey as their respective racing secretaries.Huffman, 37, succeeds Doug Bredar, who was racing secretary and director of racing at Churchill Downs. The company wouldn't comment on the reason for Bredar's departure.Huffman has worked as stakes coordinator at Churchill since 2004 and served as a placing judge at the track several years before that. He was racing secretary and director of racing for the past three years at Fair Grounds in New Orleans and also worked for three years as racing secretary at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky.(CDI expects to close on the sale of Ellis Park later in September. Ellis Park already has named Dan Bork racing secretary.)"Ben Huffman is one of the outstanding young officials in Thoroughbred racing, and we are pleased to welcome him to his new post at his hometown track," Churchill president Steve Sexton said. "Ben has gained remarkable experience through working at some of the most important race meets in our industry, and we look forward to working with him as we continue our efforts to present our horsemen and fans with the best product in American racing.""Churchill Downs has been an important part of my life for many years, and it is incredibly special to be offered the post of racing secretary at this legendary track," Huffman said. "It would have been difficult to imagine having this opportunity in my early days at Churchill Downs, when I worked as a groom in my father's barn. I look forward to offering terrific racing opportunities for our Kentucky horsemen and stables throughout North America and to help provide our on-track and simulcast fans with a daily racing program that is second to none."Abbey, 59, is a veteran who has served as racing secretary at Delaware Park since 2002. He had held the same position at the track from 1984-86, when he worked to rebuild the racing program after the track closed for a year. Abbey has also served as racing secretary at Hialeah Park and Atlantic City Race Course and has worked in racing office positions at Monmouth Park and Meadowlands. Abbey will continue to serve as racing secretary at Delaware Park, which operates from April through mid-November. The 135th Fair Grounds meet will kick off on Thanksgiving Day and conclude March 25, 2007.
"We are very pleased to welcome Sam Abbey to our team at Fair Grounds," said Randall Soth, president of Fair Grounds. "We wish Ben Huffman the best after an eventful three years at our track and look forward to working with Sam to present an exciting and attractive program to horsemen and racing fans that have been awaiting the return of racing at Fair Grounds."