Ron Charles Elected TOC Chairman

Ron Charles has been elected chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California by the organization's board of directors.

The board met on July 11 following its annual election of directors in June. The TOC membership elected Barbara Dutton, John Sadler, and Art Sherman as owner-trainer directors, and re-elected John Amerman, Jon S. Kelly, Robert B. Lewis, Jack B. Owens, and Mace Siegel as owner directors.

Charles succeeds Owens, who has served as TOC's chairman since September of 2001. One of the founding directors of the organization, Charles had most recently served as TOC's vice chairman. The board also named Amerman and Tom Bachman as vice presidents, Donna Arnold as treasurer, and Siegel as secretary.

"Jack Owens has devoted countless hours as TOC's chairman, and TOC has benefited immeasurably from his efforts," Charles said. "He will continue to be a valuable asset to the board as a member.

"As we tackle major issues of concern to all California owners, the most pressing is obviously Workers' Comp. It isn't just a Thoroughbred industry problem, it's a California problem. One so serious that we're losing owners and trainers. TOC is attempting to achieve short-term relief, while working on long-term solutions.

"Close behind is our need to find other sources of revenue that will increase purse sizes in order to be competitive with states that have access to slots they've gained through industry-friendly legislation. We are also currently addressing other areas that should shortly begin to return greater revenue to owners."

Charles has owned Thoroughbreds for more than 25 years and currently has 15 in training with Sandy Shulman, including 2003 San Luis Rey Stakes winner Champion Lodge. A resident of Shadow Hills, Calif., Charles owned one of the largest printing firms in the San Fernando Valley for more than 20 years and currently is a real estate developer.

The TOC board at its July meeting also welcomed Dutton as its newest member. (Sadler and Sherman had been serving as appointed board members since last fall.) Dutton has owned Thoroughbreds since 1972, and her stakes winners include Golden Ballet, Starry Ice, and Champ's Star. A former California Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association board member, Dutton has also raised Quarter Horses and shown horses extensively. She is married to trainer Jerry Dutton.

With the addition of three owner-trainer board members in 2002, the TOC board now numbers 15: John Amerman, Ron Anson, Donna Arnold, Tom Bachman, Ron Charles, Barbara Dutton, Jon S. Kelly, Robert B. Lewis, Trudy McCaffery, Jack B. Owens, Don Rego, John Sadler, Art Sherman, Mace Siegel, and Donald Valpredo. John Van de Kamp serves as the organization‚s president and general counsel.