Breeders’ Cup executive Craig Fravel to join Stronach as chief executive

Craig Fravel will join the Stronach Group after the Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita in early November.
(Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

Craig Fravel, chief executive of the Breeders’ Cup, is going to join the Stronach Group as chief executive of racing operations after the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 1-2.

The surprise move is likely being made to stabilize a company trying to find its footing after 30 horse deaths at Santa Anita this year.

It’s unclear if this leaves a role for Tim Ritvo, who is the chief operating officer and until recently was running Santa Anita.

“I’m delighted to have Craig join our company at this pivotal moment in our sport,” said Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of the Stronach Group, which operates Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in California. “Craig’s stellar reputation and proven track record of leadership will enable us to further our goal to become North America’s preeminent horse racing organization.”

Fravel has been with the Breeders’ Cup since 2011 and before that spent more than 20 years at Del Mar, where he rose to chief operating officer.

Fravel’s job description includes management and oversight of all racing and training facilities. He will be tasked with “implementing and enforcing global best practices and integrity standards for horse and rider safety in collaboration with key industry stakeholders.”


It’s expected that Fravel will relocate to Southern California, which will allow him a greater role in the running of Santa Anita. Aidan Butler, recently named acting executive director of California racing for TSG, will continue to be in charge of day-to-day operations at Santa Anita and, by extension, oversee Golden Gate Fields.

TSG also owns Gulfstream in South Florida and Laurel and Pimlico in Maryland.