Photo by George Adams.

1/ST announced today the appointment of Aidan Butler to Chief Operating Officer, 1/ST RACING and to President, 1/ST CONTENT. Butler joined The Stronach Group in 2018 and has been front and center in California leading the racing operations teams at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields as the Acting Executive Director of California Racing Operations. In addition, he also served as Chief Strategy Officer for The Stronach Group. 

Butler will work directly with Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, 1/ST RACING, to further develop the company’s world-class racing programs and national content offerings. While continuing to oversee racing operations nationally, Fravel will focus on West Coast operations while Butler will relocate to Florida to oversee the racing operations at the company’s owned tracks and training centers on the East Coast including Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows in Florida and Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland.

Butler will also take on responsibilities to further develop and align the company’s North American and international content businesses including, Monarch Content Management, Elite, GWS and XBTV as President of the newly formed 1/ST CONTENT division.

“Aidan and I have been working side-by-side over the last year and have developed a strong and constructive working relationship”, said Fravel. “The appointment of Aidan to Chief Operating Officer, 1/ST RACING and President, 1/ST CONTENT, is a critical step as we continue to build our company’s forward-thinking and innovative racing and content programs. I have no doubt that his passion and knowledge for our sport will position our national and East Coast operations for growth.”  

“I look forward to working with Craig and the 1/ST RACING teams in Florida and Maryland to synchronize our racing programs and to establishing the 1/ST CONTENT division as the future of content platforms for our sport”, said Butler. “While I focus on the East Coast racing operations, I will continue to assist with matters in California and to work closely with horsemen in the state.” 

During a transformative time in horseracing, Butler was responsible for the implementation of industry-leading health and safety protocols for horses and riders at Santa Anita Park while overseeing track management and operations at the company’s West Coast venues. In addition, Butler was responsible for the development of key stakeholder and strategic relationships and most recently for leading Santa Anita Park successfully through the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership, within days of the original coronavirus lockdown, he brought the horseracing community at Santa Anita Park together to form North America’s first sports bubble. This self-contained ecosystem allowed hundreds of backstretch workers, jockeys and essential racing personnel to keep the horses safe and active while protecting themselves, their livelihoods and the community. This ecosystem has since been replicated by many other professional sports leagues including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL). “Riders Up” the documentary that showcases how Butler and the team at Santa Anita Park made this happen premiered on NBCSN in the leadup to Preakness 145 and is currently viewable at