Jack Owens, California’s longest-serving board member thoroughbred owner, died on November 21 of a heart attack. First elected to the TOC board in 1995, he resigned from the board this past July.
During his board tenure, Owens served as chairman for six years. He has also served as vice president representing Northern California, chair of the Government and Legislative Affairs Committee, and an active member of the Racing, Betting, and Regulatory Review committees. and Wallet.
It is nearly impossible to overestimate the impact and historical importance of the organization of which Owens was one of the first board members. Nearly 30 years ago, a small group of successful business-oriented owners gathered together to form a group representing all California Thoroughbred owners in addition to the official cavalry organization. at that time, the California Horsemen’s Protection and Benevolence Association. Their efforts have created a movement that will eventually bring real change to the industry in key areas such as tax relief, account staking and workers’ compensation. Thanks to their efforts, the TOC has quickly become a nationally recognized voice for owners, prudently protecting owners’ property rights and making California racing even more appealing.
In a 2003 interview, Owens—then president of the TOC—said, “Although Thoroughbred Racing is a diverse industry, the owner is a key component. Without a source With so much capital being continuously poured in by us, the industry could not survive. TOC’s sole contribution became the voice of this important part of the industry.” He concluded: “In my humble opinion, the industry has benefited overall from the TOC’s independence, advocacy and willingness to take a fresh look at industry issues. .”
A Stanford graduate, Owens has practiced law for more than 30 years. Ed Moger, the current Northern California coach representative on the TOC board who has served Owens for the past 13 years, said, “Jack has a great legal mind, which is invaluable to the board. He’s very smart and always on target.” Moger, who also trained Owens horses, added, “He loves the game, he loves his ranch and he loves his horses.”
An owner and breeder of purebred dogs for over 30 years, Owens primarily races in Northern California. With his wife, Barbara, he owns Riveroak Ranch in Stanislaus County. As a Northern California board representative, he has always been a staunch supporter of Northern California motorsport and riders. As a proponent of livestock expansion in California, he is determined to see races thrive in his home state.
Marty Bach, who served on the TOC board with Owens from 2003 to 2011 and also partnered with him to own several athletes, including multi-stake winner City by the Bay, recalled those early years:
“When I joined the TOC board, Jack was chairman and we became very friendly. He was brilliant and his accuracy was amazing. At that time, we had a some extremely powerful and opinionated people on the board, including four on the Forbes Top Ten list. He has the ability to analyze people and run the meeting.”
Nick Alexander, a prominent California rancher/owner who served on the TOC board with Owens, said: “Jack is a resident TOC historian with a brilliant mind and a super memory, is a great man. He loves his family, his horses and sports.”
Jack Owens leaves behind a wife, Barbara, four children (John, David, James and Allie) and four grandchildren (Jaclyn, Audrey, Murphy, and Riley). The celebration will be held on December 18 at 2:00 p.m. at the Owens family farm in Modesto. RSVPs can be sent to Barbara Owens at [email protected].
This press release has been edited by BloodHorse Staff for content and style.