Canterbury Park in suburban Shakopee hired Chris Merz as senior director of horse racing operations in mid-January. Merz, who will begin his duties in early February, has been director of racing and racing secretary at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, since 2020.
“We are very excited to have Chris join our team and bring his racing office experience at the highest levels of racing to Canterbury Park,” says Randy Sampson, Canterbury’s CEO. “We are confident he will be a great fit for this position and willcontinue the upward trajectory we have had with our live racing product. Bringing in Chris to lead our racing operations is another indication of the long-term commitment of Canterbury Park to the horse racing industry in Minnesota.”
Merz will oversee all aspects of live racing at the racetrack, supervising Canterbury’s racing secretary, manager of racing operations, turf and grounds superintendent, and stable area manager. He will also serve as liaison with the Minnesota RacingCommission, racing stewards, office staff, and veterinary staff and act as point person for the company with the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association. Merz is also responsible for compliance with Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) regulations.
“I would like to thank Randy Sampson and his team for extending their trust in me for this opportunity,” Merz says. “Minnesotahas a strong racing industry, and Canterbury Park has committed to expanding on that for generations to come. I am excited and grateful to be part of that vision and look forward to what we will accomplish together.”
Merz also served as racing secretary at Maryland Jockey Club in Annapolis; assistant racing secretary at Los Alamitos Racecourse in Los Alamitos, California; and stakes coordinator at both Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, California, and Golden Gate Fields in Albany, California.
Merz also serves on the American Graded Stakes Committee and the Breeders’ Cup World Champion and Field Selection Committee.
Canterbury Park has more than 50,000 square feet of year-round meeting space; some of the meeting rooms overlook the racetrack. This year, Canterbury will host live horse racing May 27 to Sept. 16. Canterbury Park is 30 minutes southwest of downtown Minneapolis.