Steve Schwartz, a prominent trial lawyer specializing in equine veterinary and medical issues, has been named president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California effective Nov. 15.
Schwartz replaces Drew Couto, who left the position earlier this year.
Schwartz is a longtime horse owner who currently has six Thoroughbreds. TOC officials, in an Oct. 30 release, said Schwartz was chosen following an exhaustive executive search and interview process that drew many applicants from California and around the United States.
“Horse racing in California and nationally is in a time of unrivaled opportunity,” Schwartz said in a statement. “The current revolution in hospitality, entertainment, and gaming challenges the way we do business. We will seek ways to respond to and enhance horsemen’s opportunities and the fans’ experience, focusing on our positives and building on them.”
“Steve comes highly recommended by many people working in the industry,” TOC chair Marsha Naify said in a statement. “He is very well qualified as well as being passionate about this business. Steve is being given a one-year contract at a salary of $175,000; the full contract, when it is completed, will be posted online (at the TOC Web site).”
Schwartz will be based at the TOC offices at Santa Anita Park, but he will also be at the organization’s satellite office at Hollywood Park during race days, the organization said.
The TOC said it will host an open house from 9 a.m.-noon PDT both days of the Nov. 6-7 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita to allow Schwartz an opportunity to meet with California owners and industry representatives.
The TOC, which is charged with advocating for owners and is involved in legislative matters, also negotiates horsemen’s contracts with racetracks in the state.