Wednesday, September 08, 2021Contact: Andrew Chesser
Romanet To Retire As IFHA Chairman; Engelbrecht-Bresges Elected New Chairman

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) announced today that its long-standing Chairman, Mr Louis Romanet, has decided not to seek a further term and will conclude his tenure as Chairman in October.  Romanet has served the IFHA with distinction since the organisation’s inception.
The Federation’s Executive Council has appointed a new leadership team to commence a three-year term starting in October, and Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges has been elected to serve as the second Chairman in the IFHA’s history. Founded in 1993 and based in Paris since its establishment, the organisation will henceforth be supported by a global management team which will be announced in October.
“It has been an honour, a privilege, and a pleasure to serve as the IFHA’s Chairman since its beginning,” said Romanet. “After 27 years in the chair, I am proud of the development of our great sport and its growth all over the world. It is time for me to step down in favor of new generations of leaders, and I am confident that our next Chair and Vice-Chairs, working alongside the Federation’s Executive Council, will successfully progress the IFHA and international horse racing.  I would like to warmly congratulate Winfried on his appointment to the role of IFHA Chairman.  I am certain that he will bring the vision, energy and outstanding leadership qualities necessary to take racing’s global body to the next level into the future.”
In recognition of his invaluable contribution to the IFHA, Romanet has been appointed to the honorary position of Chairman Emeritus of the Federation by the Executive Council, a position he will assume in October.

“There is nobody who can replicate the remarkable and sustained contribution to the IFHA which Louis has achieved,” said Engelbrecht-Bresges. “Louis has dedicated his working life to the advancement of racing. He has been a champion for the internationalization of racing and has worked over many years to set and promote the conditions necessary to support international competition.  He has also had an unwavering commitment to prohibited substance-free racing, particularly through major reforms to Article 6 of the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering.
“Louis was instrumental in initiating recent enhancements to the governance of the IFHA.  In doing so, he has overseen the establishment of a more globally-integrated, modern organisation which will draw on the wealth of expertise, talent and experience from our membership, and yet remain anchored in Paris as the spiritual home of the IFHA.  This has set a strong platform for the IFHA and our members to meet the challenges of a globalized, dramatically changing world.  I am truly honoured to be appointed as Louis’ successor and the second Chair of the IFHA.”

Engelbrecht-Bresges has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) since 2007, and has also served as the IFHA’s Vice Chairman for Asia. Additionally, Engelbrecht-Bresges also serves as the Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation (ARF), the regional body representing 29 national racing authorities and racing-related organisations from across Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East.
In addition, four Vice-Chairs were elected:
  • • Jim Gagliano, President and Chief Operating Officer of The United States Jockey Club was re-elected as Vice Chair for the Americas.
  • • Brian Kavanagh, outgoing Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, and incoming Chief Executive of The Curragh Racecourse, was re-elected as Vice-Chair for Europe.
  • • Masayuki Goto, President and CEO of the Japan Racing Association, was elected as the new Vice-Chair for Asia. 
  • • Horacio Esposito, Advisor in International Affairs for Organización Sudamericana de Fomento del Pura Sangre de Carrera (OSAF), was elected as the Federation’s new fourth Vice-Chair. 
Information on the new Chair and each of the four Vice-Chairs can be found below.

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges GBS JP

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) in 1998 and has been its CEO since February 2007. Under his leadership, the HKJC has undergone significant transformations, becoming one of the world’s leading racing organisations, while its Charities Trust is now one of the world’s top 10 charity donors. 

Internationally, Engelbrecht-Bresges has served as Vice Chair of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), and Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation (ARF), which comprises 29 national racing authorities and racing-related organisations from across Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East. Engelbrecht-Bresges is also a member of the Advisory Board of Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V., organiser of the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen.

In Hong Kong, Engelbrecht-Bresges was a member of the Board of the Equestrian Events (Hong Kong) of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad Co Ltd, the company charged with managing the operations of the 2008 Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong. He is a Vice Patron of the Community Chest and a Deputy Chairman of the Hong Kong Management Association, where he is Professor of Practice at its Institute of Advanced Management Development. He also holds an honorary doctorate in humanities from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Engelbrecht-Bresges was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 2009 and was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star in 2016.

Prior to joining the HKJC, Engelbrecht-Bresges spent six years as Executive Vice President and 10 years as a Board Member of the German Racing and Breeding Authority (Direktorium für Vollblutzucht und Rennen), the governing body of German horse racing and breeding, whose members include the representatives of racecourses, the Trainers and Jockeys Association and the German Breeders and Owners Association. During this period he also developed and managed the Authority’s commercial activities, including its tote, telebetting, TV production, marketing and sponsorship. Engelbrecht-Bresges also served as President of Neusser Race Club and was a Board Member of the Union Klub.

A graduate from the University of Cologne in Economics, Finance and Statistics,  Engelbrecht-Bresges has had a lifelong passion for horse racing and breeding Thoroughbreds. He is also an avid football fan, and played football professionally in Germany before graduation.

Jim Gagliano

James L. Gagliano became President and Chief Operating Officer of The Jockey Club, the breed registry for all Thoroughbred horses in North America, on January 1, 2010.
He had served as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for The Jockey Club since June 2005.
Prior to joining The Jockey Club’s management team, Gagliano served as Executive Vice President of Magna Entertainment Corporation’s Maryland racing operations, where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Maryland Jockey Club. He also served as President, MEC OTB, and Group Vice President, MEC Northern Group.
Before that, Gagliano served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Greenwood Racing Inc. and worked in various roles during a 10-year stint with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
Since October 2010, he has served as Vice Chairman representing the Americas for the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. In January 2013, he was elected to the American Horse Council board of trustees for which he was elected Vice Chairman in June 2015 and Chairman in 2018. In June 2016, he was named to the Humane Society of the United States National Horse Racing Advisory Council. In addition, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance in 2016 and of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association in 2018.
Gagliano is Chairman of The Jockey Club Technology Services, TJC Media Ventures, TJC Holdings, InCompass Solutions, The Jockey Club Information Systems, and The Jockey Club Racing Services and sits on the boards of Equibase, Axcis Information Network Inc. (TrackMaster), and BloodHorse.
Brian Kavanagh

Brian Kavanagh has been the Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), the governing authority for horse racing in that country with responsibility for its development, promotion, governance and administration, since its establishment in 2001.  Horse Racing Ireland also owns four racecourses, owns and operates Tote Ireland and the international bloodstock promotion company Irish Thoroughbred Marketing. His term with HRI ends in September, and he will take up the role of Chief Executive Officer of The Curragh in November.
Kavanagh has also served as Chairman of the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation since 2011 and as Chairman of the European Pattern Race Committee since 2005.
Prior to taking on the role in HRI, Kavanagh was Chief Executive of the Irish Turf Club for two years and Manager of The Curragh Racecourse and Training Centre for five years. Previously he was employed as Financial Controller of the Irish Turf Club from 1985 to 1989. Kavanagh also spent four years working as an accountant for KPMG, after graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Comm.), Accounting and Finance and a Diploma in Professional Accountancy from University College Dublin.

Masayuki Goto
Masayuki Goto joined the Japan Racing Association (JRA) in 1975. He has held management positions including Chief Representative of JRA New York Office, Manager of International Strategic Planning Section, Deputy General Manager of Customer Services Department, and General Manager of Corporate Strategies Planning Department before being appointed to the JRA Board of Directors in 2006.

During his tenure as a Director, he was responsible for Corporate Planning and Finance. Goto was appointed as the Executive Director in March 2011 and was responsible for Racing Administration Policies, Stable System and Breeding Affairs. In September 2014, he was appointed as the President and CEO of JRA.
Throughout his international career and during experiences such as his assignment to the New York Office from 1995 to 1998, he has enhanced the international status of Japanese horse racing. The JRA started the international simulcast for the 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and generated a substantial turnover from the race in the Japanese Pool, which was featured worldwide. At the 2017 International Conference of Horseracing Authorities and at the 2018 Asian Racing Conference in Seoul, he presented the JRA’s strategy to expand its fan base through international simulcast and how this enhances and promotes horse racing.
He is very fond of listening to music from the 1950s and ‘60s, and his love for the Liverpool Sound, especially The Beatles, is very well known to those in horse racing circles who have attended the Japan Cup.
Born in October 1951, he lives in Tokyo with his wife. They have two sons.

Horacio Esposito
Horacio Esposito was born November 8th, 1955, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His expertise is based in Economy and International Commerce.  During the early stages of his professional career in Argentina, he played key roles in the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of International Affairs, and as an advisor to the President of the Economic Commission in the Argentine Senate.
Esposito was also a member of the Board at Alvarez and Esposito International Trade, a company in charge of international ventures based in Nairobi, Kenya, for three years. In Argentina, he was the Vice President and Chief Executive Officer. of Galerias Pacifico, the main shopping centre in Buenos Aires. Later, as CEO, he managed four important shopping malls in Argentina for many years.
Esposito later joined the Liberman Group and was appointed a member of the Board for the hotel Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo, Brazil and for the Park Hyatt Mendoza Hotel, Spa & Casino in Argentina. He was the Project Leader, CEO, and then member of the Board of Maroñas Race Course & Casinos in Montevideo, Uruguay. Also as a member of the Board of The Ascot Group, he represented the Liberman´s Group in Kentucky Downs Racetrack Investment in Kentucky, USA (2008-2019). He was also linked to De La Pomme stud farm owned by the Liberman family.
In 2006, he founded the Latin American Racing Channel (LARC) and is still a member of the Board of LARC. The company focuses on broadcasting rights to and from South America. As a member of LARC, he organized four international conferences to promote every aspect of the horse racing industry. These events were held first in Argentina (2008) and Uruguay (2011), and then in partnership with The U.S. Jockey Club in New York (2015) and Washington D.C. (2017).
Since 2010, he has been an advisor for international affairs to the President of Organización Sudamericana de Fomento del Pura Sangre de Carrera (OSAF), the main South American organization representing the region. He is also part of the Executive Council of the IFHA and has served on several its technical committees.
Esposito owns and breeds Thoroughbreds in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. He is an active breeder of equestrian horses in Argentina.
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