Published Tuesday, July 25th, 2023   ( 8 months ago )

Bill Strauss, Bret Jones Added to Board of Directors for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Bill Strauss and Bret Jones

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has added two new members to its Board of Directors, it has been announced.

They are Bill Strauss, a business executive and horse owner who calls Del Mar home, and Bret Jones, the head of Airdrie Stud, a major 2,500-acre breeding operation in Midway, KY.

The pair are the first additions to the Del Mar board since three new members were brought on board in 2018. The current board consists of nine members headed by chairman David Batchelder. The two additions raised that number to 11 when they were voted in at a board meeting at Del Mar on Saturday, July 22.

“We’ve made ourselves better and stronger with the addition of these two fine gentlemen,” said board member and Del Mar CEO Joe Harper. “When you can pick up a pair of individuals who love racing and have rich histories in the game like they do, it was easy to get a unanimous vote to bring them on.”

Strauss, 65, was originally a New Yorker who had a successful financial career in Manhattan before making a coast-to-coast switch to Del Mar in 1992. There he helped found Provide Commerce, which became one of the nation’s top e-commerce companies, including its popular ProFlowers.com and Shari’s Berries.

He and his brother, Jeffrey, a master chef, partnered in a hugely popular restaurant they called the Pamplemousse Grille just across the street from Del Mar racetrack. They named their first horse The Pamplemousse and he became a stakes winner. Since then Bill has been a partner in such topline horses as double Breeders’ Cup winner Mizdirection and $5.6 million earner Hot Rod Charlie. His wife is Margie and he has a son and a daughter.

As a long time Del Mar resident with my wife Margie, and a long time horse owner, I am honored to have been selected to serve on the prestigious Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Board of Directors,” Strauss said. “I am looking forward to working with my fellow board members to carve out a successful future for horse racing in California.”  

Jones, 43, is the president of Airdrie Stud in Midway, KY. One of the leading breeding farms in the Bluegrass, Airdrie is home to 12 stallions, among them Collected, winner of Del Mar’s signature Grade 1 Pacific Classic in 2017. In addition to his new role at Del Mar, Bret has served on the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors since 2011 and sits on the Keeneland Advisory Board as well as the Board of Trustees for the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Foundation. He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife, Tyler, and their four young children.

“I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity to work with the incredible leadership team at Del Mar,” Jones said. “Anyone who has ever walked through its gates knows how truly special that racetrack is, and anyone who cares about the future of our sport recognizes how vitally important its continued success is for our industry. California racing is a true lynchpin for our sport and its prosperity should be the business of all of us; whether you’re from San Diego County or Woodford County, KY. I look forward to helping in any way I can and am honored to be working with an organization I so deeply respect.”

Del Mar’s 84th summer season is underway and will run until Sunday, September 10.