The Arkansas Racing Commission has appointed longtime racetrack executive and steward Bernie Hettel to the position of state steward for the 2020 Oaklawn live season, which runs Friday, Jan. 24 – Saturday, May 2.
“We are thrilled to have Bernie Hettel as the state steward of Arkansas,” Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Alex Lieblong said. “He brings a wealth of experience to the position and his knowledge will be invaluable as we continue to work with Oaklawn to make Arkansas the strongest racing jurisdiction in the country.”
Hettel, who has been a steward in Delaware, Florida, Ohio and Virginia, has spent the bulk of his career in Kentucky where he was Associate State Steward and Director of Facilities for the Kentucky Racing Commission before being elevated to Senior State Steward and eventually Executive Director and Chief Steward. He has also held positions with Magna Entertainment Corporation, including serving as Racing Operations Manager at Gulfstream Park, and the Virginia Racing Commission as Executive Secretary. Interestingly, early in his career, prior to moving into positions in various racing offices, Hettel spent time as a Mutuel Clerk for two meets at Oaklawn.
“The thing I remember most about Oaklawn is how enthusiastic the crowds were,” Hettel said. “The whole town got behind the race meet and it's great to know that hasn't changed much. I'm really looking forward to getting back to Oaklawn.”
Hettel is past chairman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International Technical Subcommittee of Stewards and Racing Officials. He is currently an instructor at the University of Louisville Stewards Accreditation Program.
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