Santa Anita Park has promoted veteran horseman and racing official Jason Egan to the position of director of racing and racing secretary, track officials announced Saturday.

Egan’s new position is effective Jan. 27. He will replace Chris Merz, who’s been Santa Anita’s director of racing since February 2020 and will take a more expansive operational role in the racing industry.

Additionally, veteran racing executive Rick Hammerle will join 1/ST Racing — which owns the Arcadia track — as a consultant. 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 senior vice president 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.”

Egan called Santa Anita Park “one of those special places that you want to be a part of and I’m excited to lead the racing team here. My family is here in California and, growing up on the West Coast, this has been a bit of a homecoming.”

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