Santa Anita Press Release
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 14, 2023) — Veteran horseman and racing official Jason Egan has been promoted as the Director of Racing and Racing Secretary for Santa Anita Park beginning Jan. 27. Egan, who has been the track’s Racing Coordinator since 2020, was named to the post after Chris Merz announced his desire to take a more expansive operational role in the racing industry. Merz has been Santa Anita’s Director of Racing since February 2020.
Additionally, seasoned racing executive Rick Hammerle will join 1/ST Racing as a consultant, bringing his decades of racing office expertise to the company’s properties nationwide. After stints in California, New Jersey, and Florida, Hammerle was most recently the Racing Coordinator at Oaklawn Park and Director of Racing Operations at Kentucky Downs.
“We’ve had an excellent start to our meet and a huge part of that has been the work of the racing office which has gained the support of the owners, trainers and horseplayers,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita Park’s SVP and General Manager. “Jason and Chris have been guiding that process. We are fortunate to have Jason already in place to transition into the larger role. We wish Chris well in his endeavors and thank him for his hard work over the years.”
“Santa Anita Park is one of those special places that you want to be a part of and I’m excited to lead the racing team here,” said Egan. “My family is here in California and, growing up on the West Coast, this has been a bit of a homecoming.”
Egan grew up watching racing at Longacres in Washington State. Like Hammerle, he is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program. While at RTIP, Egan interned with trainer Michael Dickinson and went on to work for seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. From there, he rose to become the assistant to trainer Michael Trombetta before going out on his own in 2011.
Egan trained multiple stakes winners, including 2018 Weber City Miss winner Goodonehoney. He transitioned to the Maryland Jockey Club racing office in 2019 and was the MJC Stakes Coordinator prior to moving to California.