The Thoroughbred Owners of California will be looking for a new chairman after Marsha Naify, who has headed the organization's board of directors since May 2007, was not re-elected to the post.
According to results announced July 1 by the TOC, Cal Fischer and Mike Pegram were elected to the board by the membership and incumbents Keith Pronske and Pablo Suarez were re-elected.
The new board officially took office July 1 and will be seated at TOC’s first board meeting of the 2010-11 fiscal year July 23 in Del Mar.
According to the TOC statement, Naify will assist the TOC's executive committee through the transition until new officers are elected at the Del Mar meeting. She was the first woman to head the organization, which was formed as the state's official owners' representative in 1995.
Fischer is a native of Los Angeles and began working in racing at the age of 16. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo he began a 24-year career as a professional farrier. In 1984 he established Madera Thoroughbreds, standing such stallions as Lil Tyler, Slew of Angels, and Birdonthewire.
Pegram, one of California’s most recognizable owners, has owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants for over 30 years, having recently relocated his operations to Phoenix, AZ. He has raced Thoroughbreds for more than three decades and has had four champions during that time, including Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Real Quiet.
Pronske, who joined the board in 2009, serves as vice chair for Northern California.
Suarez joined the Board in 2007 and currently serves as Chair of the Medication and Integrity committee.
In addition to election of directors, the 2010 ballot included four proposed amendments to the TOC bylaws regarding expansion of the board and extending the sunset date of the “Trainer-Owner” category of directors. Current bylaws state that an amendment requires a minimum quorum of 900 votes to qualify. While all four resolutions received approval, the total number of ballots received was below the minimum required.
One of the most important resolutions was for maintaining the trainer-owner category. Consequently, the TOC Board intends to pursue urgency legislation to restore the trainer-owner category effective by this fall, at which time it intends to reinstate the two incumbent trainer-owner directors plus a third trainer-owner director in accordance with the election results.
According to the TOC, a total of 9,097 ballots were mailed to 350 members who hold licenses as both owners and trainers and 8,747 members who hold only owners licenses. There were 749 qualifying ballots received. The complete vote tally is available for viewing on TOC’s web site at www.toconline.com.
Current TOC bylaws require that at least three board members be from Northern California. Representing Northern California on the board are Marty Bach, Fischer, and Pronske.
The newly-elected directors join Madeline Auerbach, Bach, David Bloom, Brian Boudreau, Billy Koch, Pete Parrella, Donald Valpredo, and Arnold Zetcher.
TOC represents owners’ interests and rights in legislative, administrative, and business matters. Additionally, the organization provides ongoing educational opportunities for current and prospective owners.