02/05/2010 1:00AM

Schwartz leaves TOC position


Less than four months after taking the position, Steve Schwartz has resigned as president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the organization announced on Friday.

Schwartz was not available for comment early Friday afternoon.

"We respect Steve's decision and wish him the best in his future endeavors," said Marsha Naify, chair of the owners' group, in a statement.

In a three-paragraph statement, the owners' group said that Schwartz wanted to spend more time with his family and that the time commitment for the group's presidency was more than he had anticipated. The Thoroughbred Owners of California is the state's official representative for horsemen.

A former trainer and an attorney, Schwartz, 59, replaced Drew Couto, who left last June.

Schwartz s departure comes at a time when the owners group is facing a decline in horse ownership because of a poor economy and dwindling purses because lower handle.

Schwartz's absence means that both the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Thoroughbred Trainers, which represents trainers, are without major executives. The trainers' group is actively searching for an executive director.