Edited press release
As part of an effort to address concerns raised by several Northern California members, the Thoroughbred Owners of California held an open forum July 28 at Golden Gate Fields and pledged to act on several recommendations.
More than 50 people attended the session, which featured casual, open microphone dialogue with TOC Northern California board members and staff.
Marty Bach, Tom Bachman, Jess Jackson, Phil Oviedo, all Northern California TOC board members, as well as new board member Madeline Auerbach and TOC chairman Alan Landsburg were on hand at the meeting. Among the Northern California owners and owner/trainers who voiced opinions at the forum were Kjell Qvale, Howard Litt, Bill Anton, Ted Theotis, Ronelle Heller, and Jim Hilling.
The TOC board said it would recommend and support the following:
--A bylaw change for ratification by members that will authorize all TOC members, regardless of "class" of membership, to vote for all TOC board members, beginning with next year's election.
--A bylaw change to require Northern California TOC board members, in addition to residing in the North, to have started a horse or horses a minimum of six times in the northern zone during the preceding calendar year, to insure that those serving as Northern California directors are actively involved in Northern California racing.
--A more consistent TOC meeting schedule in Northern California, including at least one open meeting during each of the race meets held in Northern California, plus an annual business meeting similar to that conducted in Southern California.
--Formation of a Northern California Racing Affairs subcommittee consisting of Northern California TOC directors and members, for the purpose of reviewing, negotiating, and establishing purse schedules with racing associations and fairs conducting live race meets.
"I thought the meeting went well," Bachman said. "Everyone must realize we're all in this together. The road ahead is a bit bumpy, but if we all work together, understanding the problems and working on the solutions, we will move forward."
"We think this was very productive step in resolving the issues raised in recent weeks by our members in the North," TOC president, Drew J. Couto said. "And we appreciate the genuine interest and enthusiasm of those members who attended, as well as their willingness to work with us to improve and strengthen TOC."