Club lures Nader from the Big Apple

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 March, 2007, 12:00am

The Jockey Club's worldwide search for a replacement for Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges as executive director of racing has ended with the appointment of New York administrator Bill Nader.

Nader, 49, has been with the New York Racing Association (Nyra) for 13 years and is the group's senior vice-president and chief operating officer. It hasn't been an entirely smooth journey either, as the Nyra is operating under the protection of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws as it undergoes what might be its last year as the controlling body of racing in the state.

Because of the drama that comes with the territory in Chapter 11 filings, 'I can't honestly say I've enjoyed every single day of my work', Nader said, with lashings of dry American wit, 'but I have enjoyed the work overall, and I've definitely enjoyed working with a lot of good people.'

Engelbrecht-Bresges moved into the chief executive's chair on February 1, but the search for his replacement had been going on since before his appointment on September 28.

'Bill is a very experienced administrator and New York can be a pretty rough climate so he's very seasoned,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said yesterday. 'Bill is extremely sensible and completely understands the business of racing. He has worked in a very competitive environment and that's particularly important for us at this time, with the competition that racing now faces from other forms of gambling and entertainment.'

Nader has been responsible for racing at New York's three primary race tracks - Belmont Park, Saratoga and Aqueduct. 'Belmont is the Taj Mahal of North American race tracks and Saratoga, well it's simply the finest racecourse in the country,' Nader said.

Tomorrow, Nader will jet back to New York to work out his notice at the Nyra but will be back in Hong Kong, behind his new desk at the Jockey Club's Sports Road headquarters, on April 23. Nader's experience in the wagering side of the business as well as his familiarity with the mechanics and politics of the simulcasting of racing stateside, will also be invaluable as the Jockey Club attempts to build its off-shore wagering business.

'Bill is very much a businessman, but he's also a great racing man and I have every confidence he has what it takes to move the business of racing forward for us,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said.