Chris McCarron, new Santa Anita general manager.

Chris McCarron, new Santa Anita general manager.


Chris McCarron Named Santa Anita's G.M.

Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron was named general manager of Santa Anita Park, parent company Magna Entertainment Corp. announced Wednesday.

McCarron, reached via phone after MEC released its statement, said Magna chairman Frank Stronach recruited him "to be part of the team." McCarron will report to Jack Liebau, the president and current general manager at Santa Anita, when he begins his duties Mar. 31.

McCarron will also hold the title of vice president.

"I'm so jazzed," said the 47-year-old McCarron, who retired from riding June 23 after 28 years with 7,141 career victories. Many of his biggest thrills were at the Arcadia, Calif., track. "It sounds scripted, but I am so excited to be with Magna, a company that has a tremendous vision for racing in the future."

Liebau said McCarron's addition will create some shuffling of administrative duties at Santa Anita. Liebau, who also runs Magna's racetrack operations at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows, said his own responsibilities would not change, however.

McCarron said his assignment so far remains unspecified.

"I'm going to be learning about how to help run a racetrack," he said. "Obviously, it's something I've never done and I need to learn all that I can about it. I'm fortunate to be working for someone like Jack Liebau, who has so much experience."

McCarron said he was a little surprised at Stronach's interest in him.

"It was unexpected. I'm so flattered," he said. "I always wanted to get into racetrack administration someday."

In the company's statement, Stronach noted, "Chris is a man of great integrity who has devoted his entire professional life to the sport of thoroughbred racing. He has had an outstanding career to date ... I know Chris will continue to make an important contribution to our sport and that he will make a positive contribution to the growth and well being of Santa Anita and MEC."

Since retiring in June, McCarron said he had been kept busy with his role in the upcoming Seabiscuit film and other business interests, and has had little time for the golfing life he envisioned when he stopped riding.

"I've taken maybe two months off since then," he said.

"I love this sport and I want to see it restored as a major sporting attraction in North America and internationally," he said. "For me, the best way to do that is to become part of the MEC team."

In his career, McCarron won two Eclipse Awards, the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing (NMR) Hall of Fame in 1989. His mounts earned an all-time leading $264.4 million in earnings and he ranks sixth in history in number of wins.