Arnold Zetcher, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, will resign from the board Feb. 16.
The move comes at a tumultuous time for California racing and the TOC. In his resignation letter to the board, however, Zetcher said he needs time to focus on other business and personal interests.
“After considerable thought, I have decided to resign as chairman and a member of the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, effective at the TOC’s next board meeting Feb 16,” Zetcher said in his letter, which was e-mailed to the media. “My family and I made this decision Feb. 2 and communicated it to the TOC leadership over the weekend.
“It has become clear to me that the time required for this very important position is well beyond my expectations and has not allowed me adequate time to spend on my other business interests and other boards on which I serve. Therefore, although I have only been chairman of the TOC for six months, I believe it is time to turn these responsibilities over to others.
“The TOC is an extremely important contributor to California horse racing, and the individuals who volunteer for its board should receive the thanks from the entire industry. I wish them only the best as they represent owners and continue their efforts to improve Thoroughbred racing in California.”
Zetcher said he will return to managing his breeding and racing stable. Gabby’s Golden Gal, Richard’s Kid, EZ’s Gentleman, Zardana, Tizzy’s Tune, Gabrielina Giof, and House of Fortune are among the horses he has raced.
Zetcher was elected to the board in 2009 and has served on several committees. At its first meeting of the new fiscal year July 23, 2010, the TOC board elected Zetcher chairman for the 2010-11 term.
The TOC in recent months has come under fire from some trainers calling for changes in representation and horseplayers that have targeted a pari-mutuel takeout hike supported by the TOC for the purpose of increasing California purses. That move triggered a boycott by some bettors.
“It is a loss to the industry when someone of Arnold’s caliber and experience moves on,” TOC vice chairman Brian Boudreau said in a statement. “With so many demands on his time, we know this was a very difficult decision for Arnold but one that was done in the best interests of his family and other endeavors, but will be a tremendous loss for the TOC.”