Daily Racing Form: NYRA Dismisses Three Executives In Management Shake-Up

The "internal restructuring" comes just two weeks before the opening of the Saratoga meet.


The New York Racing Association on Thursday fired three executives and added job titles to three others in a management shake-up that comes two weeks before the opening of the Saratoga meet.

In an internal company memo obtained by Daily Racing Form, NYRA president and CEO David O’Rourke described these moves as “an internal restructuring to the executive team that will position our organization for continued success.”

Lynn LaRocca, NYRA’s chief experience officer, Bob Hughes, chief information officer and Jim Ranton, senior vice-president and chief human resources officer, were all fired on Thursday. Replacements for those positions were not immediately identified.

LaRocca had been with NYRA since May 2014 while Hughes and Ranton each had their positions since 2015.

“We appreciate their many contributions to the company and wish them success in the future,” O’Rourke wrote in his company e-mail.

A NYRA spokesman declined to comment on internal personnel matters.

Jelena Alonso, vice-president/controller, has been promoted to the position of chief accounting officer, with broad responsibilities over all internal accounting and financial reporting functions.

Gordon Lavalette, the company’s chief financial officer since 2016, will also serve the company’s chief operating officer. He will supervise frontside operations including sales, food & beverage and parking.

Tony Allevato, president of NYRA Bets and executive producer for NYRA TV, is now the chief revenue officer as well, overseeing sponsorships and marketing.

These changes come just two weeks before the opening of the Saratoga meet on July 11. They also are the first major moves made by O’Rourke, who took over as president and CEO in January after the abrupt firing of Chris Kay.

Prior to filling that job, O’Rourke at NYRA held titles of director of financial planning, vice president of corporate development and, in 2013, he was appointed senior vice president and chief revenue officer.

This story originally appeared on DRF.com.

David Grening, Daily Racing Form

David Grening covers the New York Racing Association circuit of Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga plus such national events as the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup. He is a contributing author to "Champions" and joined Daily Racing Form in 1998.


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