News Releases

Thursday, December 14, 2017Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326
Nancy Kelly to Retire; Shannon Kelly to Succeed Her

Nancy C. Kelly, the vice president of development of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and executive director of The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, will retire from fulltime duties at the end of 2017, it was announced today by James L. Gagliano, the president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club.

She will be succeeded by Shannon Kelly (no relation), who has served as development manager for Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation since 2013.

“Shannon has been a great addition to our team since becoming a fulltime employee of The Jockey Club four years ago,” said Gagliano. “Between her vast knowledge of the racing industry and years of experience working closely with Nancy, I look forward to seeing Shannon excel in her new role.”

Nancy Kelly will continue to assist with fund-raising efforts for both Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation and with the Round Table Conference.

“For more than 30 years, Nancy has played an invaluable role in raising awareness and funds for our two charities, and we are immensely grateful for her efforts,” said Gagliano. “Beyond Nancy’s fund-raising acumen, she has also served as goodwill ambassador for The Jockey Club over the years, and we are thrilled that she will continue to play an important role in our future events.”

Shannon Kelly, a native of Carle Place, N.Y., and a resident of New York City, graduated from Providence College with a degree in history. Prior to joining The Jockey Club staff, she served as an account coordinator at Nancy J. Friedman PR, a public relations agency in New York City.

Shannon Kelly is based in The Jockey Club’s New York office. In addition to her duties with The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, she will be working closely with Jamie Haydon and Holly White, who were named vice president and director of development of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, respectively, earlier this year.

Kelly has deep roots in the horse racing industry. Her father, Timothy Kelly, is a former trainer and the current clerk of scales for the New York Racing Association; her uncle, Patrick Kelly, is an active trainer; and her late grandfather was hall-of-fame trainer Thomas J. “T.J.” Kelly.

Nancy Kelly joined The Jockey Club staff in 1985 following eight years as the manager of clubhouse relations for the New York Racing Association.

She has been responsible for the creation and orchestration of countless fund-raisers for The Jockey Club’s two charities, including the Fashionable Fillies Luncheon and Charity Golf Tournament, both held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and the Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration held in and around the New York City area.

Kelly spearheaded and/or supported countless backstretch assistance programs through the years and worked closely with chaplains and other Thoroughbred industry charities throughout the country. She serves on the board of directors for the Belmont Child Care Association and previously served on the board of the Backstretch Employees Services Team (BEST), two New York-based backstretch programs.

She has organized The Jockey Club’s annual Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., for the past 30 years, the Pan American Conferences in New York and Washington, D.C., in recent years, and countless other fund-raising events.

A resident of Westbury, N.Y., she has received several honors for her work, including the Red Smith “Good Guy” Award from the New York Turf Writers Association, the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America’s Award of Excellence, and the Eddie Arcaro Award from the Jockeys’ Guild.

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is traditionally the nation's leading source of private funding for equine medical research that benefits all breeds of horses. Since 1983, the foundation has provided more than $24.8 million to fund 346 projects at 43 universities in North America and overseas. Additional information about the foundation and is available at

The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation is a charitable trust created in 1943 that provides financial relief and assistance to the individuals who are the backbone of the Thoroughbred racing industry: grooms, hot walkers, night watchmen, jockeys and exercise riders, as well as office personnel, and farm and training center workers. In the last 30 years, the foundation has helped more than 1,000 individuals with more than $15.5 million in support. Additional information about The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation is available at