02/08/2011 12:36PM

Zetcher leaving post as head of Thoroughbred Owners of California

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Arnold Zetcher, the chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California since last summer, will resign from the position as of the organization’s next board meeting on Feb. 16, Zetcher said in a letter sent to the board that was distributed to the media.

Zetcher cited time constraints for the decision. Zetcher, a member of the owners’ group’s board since 2009, was elected chairman on July 23, 2010.

“It has become clear to me that the time required for this very important position is well beyond my expectations and has not allowed me adequate time to spend on my other business interests and other boards on which I serve,” Zetcher wrote. “Therefore, although I have only been chairman of the TOC for six months, I believe it is time to turn these responsibilities over to others.”

Guy Lamothe, the executive director of the owners’ group, said on Tuesday that the organization’s board is expected to name a replacement to serve out the remainder of Zetcher’s one-year term at the Feb. 16 meeting. Zetcher also resigned as a director, so another director will need to be selected to fill the seat.

Zetcher, the former chief executive officer and chairman of the retail chain Talbot’s, owns approximately 25 horses, including breeding stock. He is currently on the boards of his alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis, and the National Retail Federation.

The California racing industry is currently struggling with short fields, uncertainty over the year-round racing calendar, and persistent handle declines that have also affected tracks nation-wide over the past three years. The Thoroughbred Owners of California has also come under fire from horseplayers who were upset about the organization’s decision to support legislation that increased the takeout on exotic wagers to fund purse increases. Zetcher was chairman at the time the legislation was passed.