Strauss retires as Del Mar Thoroughbred Club chairman; Batchelder is successor


Robert S. Strauss, an international statesman, presidential cabinet member and one of the nation’s top lawyers who has headed the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s board of directors as its chairman for the past 12 years, announced Aug. 30 that he would be stepping down from his DMTC role, effective immediately.

The 94-year-old Strauss, who served both Democratic and Republican presidents over the course of an accomplished legal and political career, has a special love for Del Mar, a place he has been coming to for more than half a century.

Stepping up to take on the role of chairman, by unanimous vote of the nine-member DMTC board convened at a meeting at the track Aug. 30, is David H. Batchelder, 63, a businessman who has been a board member for the past five years and is a racehorse owner with a deep passion for the game.

Strauss, who has served on the DMTC board since 1988, has agreed to stay involved as both a director and chairman emeritus. He said he has treasured his association with his favorite racetrack.

“Del Mar is just a wonderful place to be each summer and it has been my great joy to be involved with it over these many years,” he said. “The fine sport, the special people and the marvelous setting have all blended together to make it a magical summer playground for any and all.”

Strauss lives primarily in Washington, D.C., but takes up residence at his oceanfront home in Del Mar each summer. He plans on continuing those arrangements into the future.

Batchelder, co-founder and principal of Relational Investors LLC, a $6-billion investment fund, as well as a past chairman or board member on 11 public companies, several of them on the Fortune 500 list, said he was honored to be selected to fill the role of DMTC chairman.

“I am honored to be associated with the exemplary management and board of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club,” he said. “Del Mar sets the standard for all of horse racing with its incredible location and facility, combined with the passion of its fans and the integrity of its leadership. I also would like to add my personal thanks to Mr. Strauss for his leadership as our chairman.”

Batchelder, who lives in Del Mar, dabbled in racehorse ownership initially with the partnership group West Point Thoroughbreds. Currently, he and his wife, Sylvia, who is a dressage rider, have an interest in 12 Thoroughbreds overseen by family friend Jeff Bloom of the Bloom Racing Stable. The Batchelders also have a ranch near Santa Isabel where they have nine horses, including two former racehorses. His wife enjoys the challenge of converting them into dressage horses. The couple has three grown children and two grandchildren.

For a recent story on Mr. Batchelder, visit

— Submitted press release