Belinda Stronach, chairwoman, chief executive officer and president of The Stronach Group and 1/ST on Sept. 28 introduced 1/ST Racing & Gaming, an enhanced division of the company that will position the core Thoroughbred horse racing business to fully capitalize on the future of sports wagering and gaming.
The 1/ST Racing & Gaming division will continue to oversee racing operations at 1/ST tracks and training centers while working to expand the company’s gaming footprint in collaboration with 1/ST Technology led by the division’s chief executive officer, Paul Williams.
“The shifting landscape of sports wagering, digital platforms and interest in high quality content presents an opportunity for 1/ST to innovate to meet the demands of our modern consumers,” said Belinda Stronach. “An enhanced 1/ST Racing & Gaming business unit will enable us to move faster and more efficiently to deliver our unique, industry-leading Thoroughbred horse racing, gaming and sports entertainment content to the next generation audience.”
To support the evolution of 1/ST Racing & Gaming, Stronach has appointed Aidan Butler as chief executive officer. Butler previously served as chief operating officer, 1/ST Racing and as chief strategy officer for The Stronach Group. He will lead the integrated team of racing and gaming personnel to leverage existing assets, identify new opportunities, and create trailblazing programs for physical, digital and metaverse applications.
Stronach has further realigned the executive leadership by appointing Craig Fravel as executive vice-chairman. Fravel will oversee critical and strategic matters for 1/ST Racing & Gaming, including national communications and public relations, governmental and industry stakeholder relations, as well as multiple corporate functions. He will focus on coordinating communications and efforts between and amongst 1/ST company verticals and corporate entities while remaining at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
In his first move as CEO of the newly formed division, Butler has appointed Rikki Tanenbaum as chief commercial officer and president of Gaming, and Stephen Screnci as president of Racing and Business Development.
Tanenbaum, in this newly created role, will focus on elevating the consumer wagering experience and on the strategic enhancement and expansion of the company’s casino, racino and sportsbook offerings. Prior to joining the company, she served as chief operating officer, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, where she was responsible for overseeing activities related to the planning and implementation of the San Manuel Tribe’s strategic, cultural and economic development objectives. Prior to that, Tanenbaum served as San Manuel’s chief marketing officer and as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Gaming Division for Landry’s Inc. and Golden Nugget Casinos. She has also led teams at Caesars Entertainment, Penn National Gaming, Viejas Casino & Resort and MGM Resorts International.
In his capacity as president of Racing and Business Development, Screnci will work directly with Butler to continue building the company’s world-class racing programs and operations at 1/ST tracks and training centers while supporting industry stakeholder relations. Screnci previously held the role of president, Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and served as the vice president of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association from 2018-2020. Currently he is a director on the board of the national Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Rikki and Steve to 1/ST Racing & Gaming,” said Butler. “As we look ahead to build upon our heritage as North America’s market-leading Thoroughbred horse racing and gaming company, we need unparalleled excellence in racing operations, a focus on modernizing all aspects of this sport for emerging generations of customers and a diversified economic base to power us into the future. This is the team to get us there.”
For more information, please visit www.1st.com or follow @1ST_Racing on Twitter or @1stracing on Instagram and Facebook.