Ron Charles has stepped down as chairman and as a member of the board of the Thoroughbred Owners of California to pursue other business interests he believes won't permit him to remain active, the TOC announced Oct. 1.The TOC board, at a Sept. 30 meeting, elected Jack Owens to replace Charles as chairman for the duration of his term, which ends June 30, 2005. Owens, executive vice president and general counsel for Gallo Winery, has been a member of the board since 1995, served as TOC' chairman from the fall of 2001 to mid-2003, and has served as a vice president since 2003. The board elected Marvin Malmuth as vice chairman."It has been my absolute privilege over the years to work with so many talented TOC board members dedicated to representing the best interests of Thoroughbred owners," Charles said in a prepared statement. "I am proud of the accomplishments TOC achieved in just one short decade of existence."Charles is a founding member of the TOC. Alan Landsburg, also a founding member of TOC, said of Charles: "In the 11-year history of TOC, no single chairman has galvanized the operation of the board with the sense and energy applied by Ron Charles."