One week into the inaugural autumn meeting at Santa Anita Park, top officials from the racing office and marketing department have stepped down in what the Paulick Report was told were cost-cutting moves by parent company The Stronach Group. Resigning as vice president of marketing was Allen Gutterman, one of the most respected and knowledgeable marketing executives in racing over the last 20 years, along with director of racing Mike Harlow, who came to Santa Anita in 1999 from Turf Paradise. As many as 100 positions are affected by what Santa Anita called a “restructuring.” Other than Gutterman, the company did not address specific names of people whose jobs have been eliminated in a press released distributed Wednesday afternoon.
SANTA ANITA PRESS RELEASE
Several management and operations responsibilities at Santa Anita Park are being reorganized as part of an ongoing restructuring of management of the facility to gain operational efficiencies and to help position the landmark horse racing facility for future growth, track officials announced today. The reorganization includes merging of some departments, streamlining of finance and operations departments and a reduction in management and seasonal workforce, officials said.
“This is the first phase of an initiative to position Santa Anita to compete in today's economic climate and to provide the best possible racing and entertainment product for our customers,” said Greg Avioli, CEO and President of Stronach Entertainment, Santa Anita's parent company. “We are confident that our restructuring will benefit our organization, California horsemen, racing fans and other local stakeholders. We also want to thank those people whose positions are being consolidated or eliminated for their service and work on behalf of Santa Anita.”
Former head of group sales Chris Quinn has been promoted to Vice President of Sales and Marketing and will oversee the merger of three departments, marketing, sales and public relations, into one. Allen Gutterman, Santa Anita's vice president of marketing, is stepping down as part of the reorganization. In addition to racing-related sales and marketing, Quinn will be charged with expanding the track's entertainment offerings. Quinn is a veteran of sports marketing, having begun his career at Steinberg Sports. He has worked in professional boxing and tennis in addition to his horse racing experience.
“In a time of industry consolidation and when more and more handle is being generated off-track, new approaches are needed to move the industry forward,” said Avioli. “We are focused on making Santa Anita a better racing facility and, at the same time, expanding its profile as a regional entertainment center offering other amenities in addition toracing and during our off-season.
“Chris has done an outstanding job over the last few years as an ambassador for Santa Anita to the local business, media and entertainment communities and to generate sponsorships and revenue through creative uses of our facility. The timing was right on this as Allen had indicated to me this summer that he was considering other opportunities and was looking to make a change before the end of the year. Allen has done a tremendous job in his six years at Santa Anita and we are grateful for his contributions.”
Also, as part of the reorganization, long-time Santa Anita racing secretary Rick Hammerle will become Vice President, Racing and Racing Secretary. Hammerle has been a fixture on the Southern California racing circuit for years and has also worked as a senior racing official at Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate, Del Mar, Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands.
“Rick enjoys the respect of the horsemen of Southern California who we rely upon to produce our racing program as well as his peers in the Thoroughbred racing industry for his creativity and work ethic,” said George Haines, Santa Anita's President and General Manager.
Company officials estimated that over 100 full-time and seasonal positions would be affected by the restructuring.
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