04/17/2013 4:33PM

Thoroughbred Owners of California picks Golden Gate general manager as new president


Joe Morris, the current general manager of Golden Gate Fields, has been hired as president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, according to a joint statement released on Wednesday by the TOC and The Stronach Group, the parent company of Golden Gate Fields.

Morris will join the owners’ group in June, following the conclusion of the current Golden Gate Fields meeting on June 16. He replaces Lou Raffetto, who announced his resignation in February less than two years after taking the position.

Morris had a short stay at Golden Gate Fields, joining the track in the fall of 2011. He previously worked for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association in group purchasing, and has a background in both harness and Thoroughbred racing.

Morris joins the owners’ group at a time when the organization is heavily involved with reshaping the Southern California Thoroughbred racing schedule for 2014. The calendar is not expected to include racing at Betfair Hollywood Park, which has committed to racing through the end of 2013 but has not stated whether it will be active as a training or racing facility in 2014.

Many industry observers expect Hollywood Park to close and for Del Mar and Santa Anita to assume most of the Thoroughbred dates on the circuit. The issue of Southern California racing dates will be discussed by the California Horse Racing Board in Sacramento on May 23.