Ron Charles Selected to Head MEC California

Magna Entertainment Corp. announced Wednesday that Ron Charles, former chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, has been selected to assume the executive directorship of MEC California effective Nov. 1.

Charles, founder and member of the TOC, was re-elected to his chairmanship for a one-year term in July, but resigned unexpectedly from his duties Sept. 30.

"There are a great many interesting challenges that come with this position," said Charles, a Thoroughbred owner and race industry activist for over three decades. "I look forward to working with and supporting the MEC team to make it a more positive presence in California racing and to create a more exciting, enjoyable racing experience at MEC tracks."

MEC is currently North America's leading owner and operator of racetracks based on gross revenues. Among its California holdings are Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, and a leased interest in Bay Meadows Race Course through the end of 2004.

Magna chairman Frank Stronach said Charles was the best fit for the future of the West Coast operation.

"Ron Charles is a great addition to the MEC team. He loves the sport and knows California racing inside and out. I am confident that Ron will help MEC elevate the sport's popularity and image in California and around the world."

Charles assisted in securing legislative changes such as gaining licensing relief for owners, as well as the recent landmark California workers' compensation racing bill. He has also been a member of the NTRA Board of National Wagering Task Force.

Magna is currently making plans for a new track in Dixon, Calif,, just west of Sacramento.