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Ron Charles says he's resigning as president of Santa Anita

Saying he wanted "to take time off," Ron Charles confirmed Tuesday morning that he has resigned as president of Santa Anita, with Wednesday his final day.

Charles, who has held his position since 2005, said there are a number of issues Santa Anita is facing in the coming weeks, none more important than a decision by owner Frank Stronach, who runs MI Developments, to decide what kind of surface will be used at the Arcadia track. It currently has the troubled Pro-Ride synthetic surface, which has drainage issues.

Charles declined to give his opinion but said: "It's going to be Frank Stronach's call. I tried to express the urgency he needs to make a decision."

Charles said a decision could come in the next two to three weeks.

As for MI Developments voiding a lease with the Oak Tree Racing Assn., putting into jeopardy their annual fall meeting at Santa Anita, Charles said, "I hope that MID and Oak Tree can come to  an agreement. Oak Tree is a terrific organization."

As for the state of racing, Charles said: "Nationally, racing is struggling and even more so in California. It's critical that somehow the industry comes together and somehow keeps our purses competitive nationally."

Charles said he will be leaving the industry, but not for long.

"I love racing," he said. "I'm sure I'll be back."

-- Eric Sondheimer

 
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