Chris Merz

New Positions For Egan at Santa Anita; Hammerle at 1/ST

Veteran horseman and racing official Jason Egan was promoted as the Director of Racing and Racing Secretary for Santa Anita Park beginning Jan. 27. He served as the track's Racing Coordinator since 2020, and he was named to his new post after Chris Merz announced his desire to take a more expansive operational role in the racing industry. Additionally, Rick Hammerle will join 1/ST Racing as a consultant. After stops in California, New Jersey and Florida, he was most recently the Racing Coordinator at Oaklawn Park and Director of Racing...

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Santa Anita Ups Purses in Advance of Dec. 26 Opening

Santa Anita's winter meet, dubbed the 'Classic Race Meeting,' will open on its traditional Dec. 26 date with a new minimum stakes purse of $100,000 for both dirt and turf black-type events. In addition, allowance races will get a boost, with all open allowances set at $85,000 and first- through third-condition allowances run for purses ranging from $72,000 to $76,000. It is the largest purse structure in Santa Anita's 88-year history. "There's no denying that expenses are up, across the board, in all facets of our economy," said Santa Anita...

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Ship & Win Program Returns at Santa Anita

Santa Anita will again offer its Ship & Win Program to provide bonuses to connections of horses brought in from other states to race at the Arcadia oval at its upcoming meet which opens Dec. 26. "Simply put, the Ship & Win program is a winner," said Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Chris Merz. "Santa Anita is a great place to train and race in the winter and with these bonuses in place for out-of-state horses, it's made us even more attractive to many owners and trainers...

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Santa Anita 'Ship & Win' Returns

Edited Press Release Santa Anita Park's "Ship & Win" program is scheduled to return for the track's 18-day Autumn Meet, which opens Friday, Sept. 30. Hosted in conjunction with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the program offers a $5,000 bonus for any eligible horse making its first start and a 35% bonus, excluding stakes races. "Ship and Win has proven to be a very effective catalyst in attracting new equine talent and we're very hopeful that many horsemen will opt to stay in Southern California following Del Mar and to...

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Santa Anita 2022-23 Winter/Spring Stakes Schedule Released

Santa Anita Park's 2022-23 Winter/Spring Stakes Schedule will offer a total of 93 stakes, 10 of them Grade I events, including  Apr. 8 showcasing the GI $750,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, and 58 graded races beginning with the track's traditional opener on Monday, Dec. 26 through closing day, June 18. The track's popular 'Ship & Win' program will again provide significant monetary incentives for out-of-state runners. Opening day will feature a total of six graded stakes, highlighted by three Grade I, $300,000 events: the Runhappy Malibu, the La Brea, and...

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'Ship & Win' Program To Be Offered at Santa Anita Fall Meet

Santa Anita Park will once again offer its 'Ship & Win' program, which has successfully attracted significant numbers of horses based outside of California over the last two years, at the track's 18-day fall meeting, which is set to begin Friday, Sept. 30. The program offers a $5,000 bonus for eligible horses making his or her first start, and a 35% bonus, excluding stakes races, is also available. The 'Ship & Win' program is a joint venture with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. "Ship and Win has proven to be...

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Santa Anita To Offer 'Ship & Win' Program

Santa Anita Park will offer the 'Ship & Win' Program in a continuing effort to attract new horses and enhance field sizes for the upcoming winter/spring meet that begins Dec. 26. Horses that are eligible will receive a $5,000 bonus and a 35% premium on purse money for one start. Horses that became eligible at the recently concluded Del Mar fall meet will also be eligible for 'Ship & Win' bonuses for their first start at Santa Anita this winter. The $5,000 bonus will also apply to any horse that...

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Santa Anita's Winter/Spring Stall Applications Available

Santa Anita's stall applications are available in advance of its traditional Winter/Spring meet, which kicks off Dec. 26. The track's 78-day meet runs through June 19 and its Winter/Spring Condition Book One will be available online Nov. 29. "With a number of out-of-state horses still here in Southern California following last week's Breeders' Cup World Championships, we want to be sure these horsemen know they've got some great options to train and race here at Santa Anita this winter and spring," said Chris Merz, Santa Anita Director of Racing and...

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Ten Percent Purse Hike at Upcoming Santa Anita Meeting

Santa Anita's 2021 Autumn Meeting, which opens Friday, Oct. 1, will now offer a 10% increase in all overnight races as Santa Anita and the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) have reached an agreement that will enable Santa Anita to provide a comprehensive purse increase for the third consecutive race meeting, dating back to the 2020 Autumn Meet. "This is a very significant development and we want to thank everyone at TOC for helping to make this happen," said Chris Merz, Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary. "To...

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Purses Increased on Fasig-Tipton Juvenile Stakes

A pair of juvenile stakes scheduled for June 20 will feature purses of $100,000 each, up from the initial amount of $75,000. The Fasig-Tipton Debutante and Fasig-Tipton Futurity will be contested at five furlongs on Santa Anita's main track and serve as a prelude to Fasig-Tipton's 2-year-old in Training Sale at Santa Anita June 23. The sale's under-tack preview will be held June 21. "We boosted the purses on both races to $100,000 because we want to continue to provide tangible incentives for those owners and horsemen that are investing...

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Del Mar's 'Ship & Win' Program Expanded

Santa Anita Park and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club have joined forces to expand upon Del Mar's "Ship & Win" program as out-of-state horses, who make their first California-based starts in May and June at Santa Anita, will still be eligible for Del Mar's purse incentives, beginning with their Summer Meet opener July 16. Effective May 1, out-of-state horses can start up to twice at Santa Anita through closing day of the current 2021 Winter/Spring Meet June 20 and still be eligible for Del Mar's Ship & Win program bonuses....

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Newby, Merz Appointed To New Roles At Santa Anita

Officials at Santa Anita have announced that Nate Newby has been promoted to the position of general manager, while Chris Merz will add racing secretary to his current role of director of racing. Newby has most recently served Santa Anita as its senior vice president and general manager and comes as Aidan Butler transitions to his new position as chief operating officer of 1/ST Racing and president of 1/ST Content in Florida. Butler previously headed California operations for Santa Anita's parent company The Stronach Group. Newby, who has been at...

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