It's a changing of the guard of sorts on the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. In an election earlier this month, seven incumbents and five newcomers won spots on the 12-member board.
Re-elected were Tom Bachman, Gary Burke, Ron Charles, Alan Landsburg, Robert Lewis, Marvin Malmuth, and Jack Owens. The newcomers are John Amerman, Donna Arnold, John Harris, Don Rego, and Don Valpredo.
While the election brought new blood to the TOC board, it also spelled the end of the line for many of the group's founders. Among those who left the board are Ed Friendly, founding president of the TOC and chairman emeritus; Mace Siegel, a founder and former vice president; Marianne Chase, a founder; and Gary Biszantz and Frank Lonergan.
“We've got some new blood, and hopefully some new ideas,” said Don Johnson, executive director of the 8,300-member TOC.
Lewis termed the mix of old and new excellent. “(The group) will bring a renewed enthusiasm and fresh outlook,” Lewis said. “They will allow the TOC's tradition of strong leadership within the horse racing industry to continue.”
In 1994, the TOC gained clout when the California Horse Racing Board recognized it as the representative owners' group. Horsemen had been split into two camps; trainers fell under the California Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. The TOC ended up with the right to negotiate purses and approve simulcasting contracts.
The new board will meet for the first time July 13. The TOC's annual meeting at Del Mar is scheduled for Aug. 12.
The new board must immediately take action on proposed by-laws recommended by the old board. Johnson was hesitant to discuss the proposed changes, but one addresses potential conflicts of interest, which have plagued the group in the past.
“The new board (members) will deal with all that when they take over,” Johnson said.