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Christopher Kay becomes NYRA’s new President and CEO

christohpher Kay nyraThe New York Racing Association (NYRA) incorporated has announced that its board of directors has unanimously approved the appointment from next month of Christopher Kay as its new President and Chief Executive Officer.

The NYRA is a non-profit corporation that operates New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course on behalf of the state. It fired boss Charles Hayward along with Senior Vice-President Patrick Kehoe in May of 2012 after an investigation by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board found that the pair had known bettors were being overcharged to the tune of $8.5 million but had done nothing to rectify the situation for more than a year.

Sixty-year-old Kay most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for The Trust for Public Land where he oversaw the operations of the land conservation organization’s headquarters and 37 field offices. Before this, he worked as a consultant to Universal Parks and Resorts, serving as its International Business Development Managing Director.

“After a careful search involving many highly qualified candidates, we are delighted to select Chris as our new President and Chief Executive Officer,” said David Skorton, Chairman for the NYRA.

“His wide range of expertise and skills including experience in the legal, regulatory and corporate governance environments will serve him extremely well in his new position at NYRA.”

For six years from 2001, Kay served as Chief Operating Officer for Toys 'R' Us and was previously the retailer’s Operations Executive Vice-President and General Counsel. The graduate of the University of Missouri and the School of Law at Duke University was also a minority owner of Orlando's AA baseball team and a member of the ownership group that sought to obtain the first Major League Baseball franchise for Florida.

“Chris’s unique blend of experience in retail, theme parks, sports and legal helped set him apart during this extensive search,” said Michael Del Giudice, Chairman for the NYRA’s Nominations and Governance Committee.

“We look forward to working with him as the NYRA moves forward in the months and years ahead.”