Robert S. Strauss, former ambassador to Russia and one-time chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will replace the retiring John Mabee as chairman of the board of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Also, Betty Mabee, John's wife and partner in Golden Eagle Farm, has been added to Del Mar's board of directors.Strauss, a member of the board since 1988, was elected unanimously as chairman Friday by his fellow board members. John Mabee was named director emeritus, after having served as chairman the past 13 years. Mabee was a founding member of the board in 1970."We are exceptionally fortunate to have a gentleman of the caliber of Robert Strauss willing to fill the very large shoes of a John Mabee," said Del Mar's president and general manager Joe Harper. "Del Mar is getting a wise and steady man at its helm, a man who lives Del Mar and loves being part of racing."Strauss, who has a home just down the beach from the racetrack, said, "I've been asked to take on a lot of important positions in my life, and this is certainly one of them. But with all the work John Mabee has done, and with the fine board and staff already in place and with the addition of Betty Mabee to our ranks, I think my new job here at Del Mar will be one of the best I've ever had."Strauss is a former special agent for the FBI who was named by Jimmy Carter to serve as a special trade representative as well as a representative to Middle East peace negotiations. Betty Mabee becomes the second woman to sit on the Del Mar board. Mrs. Fred Spencer served on the original board from 1970 until her death in 1975.Other board members besides Strauss, Harper, and Mabee are James Buell, Clair Burgener, Warner Lusardi, Tom Stickel, Rollin Baugh, Marty Wygod, and J. Terrence Lanni.