The Maryland Jockey Club announced today that longtime Vice President of Racing and Racing Secretary Georganne Hale has been named Vice President of Racing Development.
Hale, the first and only woman to serve as racing secretary at a major North American racetrack when promoted to the position in 2000 by the Maryland Jockey Club, will work on a number of initiatives to continue the growth of Thoroughbred racing in Maryland.
Chris Merz, stakes coordinator at Santa Anita and Del Mar and assistant racing secretary at Los Alamitos, has been named racing secretary by the Maryland Jockey Club.
Hale, a pioneer in Thoroughbred racing, started with the Maryland Jockey Club in 1984 as an assistant racing secretary. After being named racing secretary at Timonium in 1986, she was named racing secretary at the Maryland Jockey Club in 2000. She has been instrumental in building the Preakness, Black-Eyed Susan and Maryland Million programs and fostering strong partnerships with owners, breeders and trainers throughout North America. Hale has also mentored a number of racing officials.
Hale's new duties will include:
- Overseeing and coordinating the revitalization of the prestigious D.C. International.
- Assist with the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship Series (MATCH), which has successfully returned this year after a 16-year absence.
- Lead and monitor philanthropic initiatives with Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), “Beyond the Wire,” and “Canter for a Cause” while serving as a liaison for backstretch programs.
“I'm very excited about this new position with the Maryland Jockey Club,” Hale said. “I look forward to the great opportunities it presents to continue to build the Thoroughbred racing program and help with philanthropic programs.”
“We're thrilled that Georganne will be leading these important initiatives for the Maryland Jockey Club,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “As we continue to build and revitalize Thoroughbred racing in the Mid-Atlantic, we believe strongly that Georganne is the person to help lead us and accomplish these goals. Her knowledge of the industry and local communities is invaluable.”
Merz, a graduate of the Animal Science/Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona, has served as stakes coordinator at Del Mar and assistant racing secretary at Los Alamitos Racecourse since 2015. A former stakes coordinator and placing judge at Golden Gate Fields, Merz has also been a placing judge, entry clerk and assistant clerk of scales.
“I'm really excited about coming to Maryland and working with Georganne, Sal Sinatra, everyone in the racing office and all the horsemen,” Merz said. “It's a wonderful opportunity. They're doing such great things in Maryland. I'm really looking forward to working at Laurel and Pimlico.”
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