Nate Newby Promoted to GM of Santa Anita Park

ARCADIA, Calif.  – Santa Anita Park has announced the promotion of Nate Newby to General Manager and Chris Merz to Racing Secretary. Merz adds the title to his current position of Santa Anita’s Director of Racing and will be responsible for writing the condition books for Santa Anita’s upcoming 84th season which begins on Dec. 26.

The increased responsibilities come as Santa Anita has spent the past 18 months successfully implementing industry leading health and safety protocols for horses and riders and keeping the Santa Anita racing community protected during a global pandemic.

The promotion of Newby from his current position as Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager comes as Aidan Butler, who has headed the California Operations for The Stronach Group, transitions to his new role as Chief Operating Officer of 1/ST Racing and President of 1/ST Content and will be based out of Florida. Newby has been at Santa Anita for nearly 20 years and has been the Vice President of Marketing since 2013. A hands-on horseman, Newby also is a skilled tournament director and handicapper.

Merz returned to the Santa Anita racing office in early 2020 after a stint as the Racing Secretary at the Maryland Jockey Club. His familiarity with the Santa Anita horsemen and horses dates back several years from when he served as the stakes coordinator at Santa Anita and Del Mar, and the Assistant Racing Secretary at Los Alamitos, prior to joining the Maryland Jockey Club.

“These well-deserved promotions are a reflection of the great bench strength in place at Santa Anita,” said Craig Fravel, CEO of 1/ST Racing, in making the announcement. “Both Nate and Chris helped guide Santa Anita through a very difficult time and, with Aidan now heading up our company’s East Coast operations, we are fortunate to maintain the continuity of the team.”

Steve Lym, who has served as Santa Anita’s VP-Racing since late 2018, has been appointed Senior VP for Racing Development for 1/ST Racing and will be assisting Butler in his new role

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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