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Avioli departs as Breeders' Cup CEO; Breeders' Cup board announces search

March 4, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

Breeders' Cup Limited President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Avioli resigned early today to take a new position with a new racing and gaming company, it was announced today. Breeders' Cup has called a meeting of the board early next week to discuss interim leadership and steps to be taken to identify the organizationís next CEO, said Breeders' Cup Chairman Bill Farish.

Avioli leaves the Breeders' Cup after nearly five years as the organization's chief executive. He led the Breeders' Cup through major changes to the organization and its signature event, the Breeders' Cup World Championships, including its expansion from eight races and one-day to 14 races and two days and the formation of the international Breeders' Cup Challenge series of official qualifying races. Wagering, attendance, revenue and television ratings increased during Avioli's term as chief executive, capped by the success of the 2010 championships at Churchill Downs.

"During a time when our industry on the whole was experiencing difficult economics, Greg played an integral role in making the Breeders' Cup a stronger property and organization," said Farish. "On behalf of the Breeders' Cup board, we thank Greg for his significant contributions and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

"With any decision like this there is the excitement of the new challenges ahead as well as deep appreciation for the opportunity that Bill and the Breeders' Cup board have given me over the last few years," said Avioli. "I'm very proud of the team that we've assembled and what we've been able to accomplish together. I wish continued success to the Breeders' Cup, its management, its staff and especially the nominators whose long-time support helped build the Breeders' Cup to what it is today."

"The board looks forward to identifying a new CEO that can continue to grow the property and fulfill its mission in support of breeders and the industry,Ē said Farish. "In the interim, the board will be working closely with Breeders' Cupís management team through this transition."