Beasley could be the man for executive director post

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 February, 2007, 12:00am

As the date of the expected announcement of the identity of the Jockey Club's new executive director of racing has been and gone, it's fascinating to learn an ideal candidate for the job just happened to be in Hong Kong recently.

Rogers Beasley, director of racing at Keeneland racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky, is the name first whispered a week or two back, but the whisper has become, if not a roar, then at least something you have no trouble hearing.

Beasley's C.V. not only reads well, but in many ways mirrors the achievements of his predecessor, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, who was elevated to chief executive of the club on February 1.

Bealsey has been director of racing at Keeneland - one of America's most elegant and famous racetracks - since 2001, having been their director of bloodstock sales for the previous 19 years.

During his time as director of the world's biggest bloodstock company, Beasley was an instrumental force behind the introduction of preferred sessions to the September Yearling Sale, the creation of a repository to house X-rays and health information, creating an arbitration process for dealing with broken-winded horses, and the inauguration of the April two-year-olds in training sale.

The former banker now spends his time developing new stakes races, finding new race sponsors, providing hospitality for owners and trainers, recruiting top jockeys, trainers and horses for the Keeneland race meetings, and maintaining the training track. He's also directed substantial upgrades in the course's facilities, appreciating that racing must move with the times and provide higher-quality appointments to keep pace with the opposition.

But there is one piece of Keeneland-cum-Beasley philosophy that will fit in very nicely with the views of his potential new boss, if indeed Beasley is the man.

'There are so many things about Keeneland that are rooted in tradition, but the single most important tradition we have is that the horse comes first,' Beasley said in an interview last year. 'If you do what is best for the horse, all other things will take care of themselves.'