Empire Racing Group Names Tucker Chairman

Jeffrey Tucker, a New York breeder, has been named chairman of the fledgling Empire Racing Associates, a group of horsemen and breeders trying to position itself to be among the holders of a new Thoroughbred racing franchise in New York.

Tucker, who owns Stonebridge Farm near Saratoga is a founding partner of Fairfield Greenwich Group, a Manhattan hedge fund company that manages over $9 billion in assets for its clients.

"He'got a lot of business savvy, a lot of deal-making savvy," said Jeff Perlee, executive director of ERA. "He's got that kind of perspective that racing in New York can really benefit from."

The group's board approved Tucker's chairmanship May 25 at a private club in Albany.

Tucker was also recently named to head a committee of the group to study equine welfare issues. "I've never had a conversation on horse racing with the man that doesn't come around to equine safety," Perlee said. He said Tucker is installing an artificial track at his breeding farm. Tucker has been involved for years with Equine Advocates, a Chatham, NY, horse rescue group.

The group is busy raising funds and adding new members to make a run at the franchise now held by the New York Racing Association. The NYRA franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks expires on Dec. 31, 2007. Tucker's presence with the group is likely to give it better access to financial sources and potential partners.