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Top executive for Stronach Group is being sent to Santa Anita to revitalize track

After the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, the Stronach Group’s top executive will leave his East Coast base and move to Arcadia to try to revitalize Santa Anita Park.

Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of the Stronach Racing Group, is being sent west to help “implement best practices,” Sal Sinatra confirmed to The Times. Sinatra is the Maryland Jockey Club president and general manager.

Ritvo was unavailable for comment.

Ritvo is known as Frank Stronach’s fix-it guy, having helped transform racing at Gulfstream Park and successfully moving racing in Maryland to Laurel Park for most of the year. Pimlico runs only 12 days a year.

Technically, Ritvo has always had authority over Santa Anita as COO, but the historic track has operated almost on its own.

Ritvo will arrive in Southern California in a few days and take up residence in a house that adjoins the downhill turf course at Santa Anita.

Sinatra said Ritvo will be there “for an extended period of time.”

The move is said to be part of a restructuring, with one goal to have only one big-events team that can move from track to track. The Stronach Group owns Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Pimlico, Laurel, Golden Gate and Portland Meadows.

Santa Anita has struggled recently with attendance and a shortage of horses. The track canceled a late April card because of a lack of entries. The wet winter also has not helped the track.

It’s unclear whether this will change the duties or eliminate any of the current management team at Santa Anita.

john.cherwa@latimes.com

@jcherwa

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