Noted Breeder-Owner William R. Harris Passes

Noted Breeder-Owner William R. Harris Passes

LAUREL, MD. 11-08-13---Noted breeder-owner William R. Harris passed away this morning at his home in Mineral, VA, according to trainer Chris Grove. He was 90 years old.

Harris bred and owned multiple stakes winners Sweet Goodbye ($692,772), Five Steps ($413,746) and Deer Run ($408,530).

“He was always the biggest client in the barn,” Grove said. “In our heyday he owned 22 or 23 horses in our 50-stall barn at Bowie, so he got a lot of my attention. We talked on the phone just about every other day. I worked for him since 2000 but only saw him six or seven times but we talked on the phone religiously. He was really like a grandfather to me. He was a big supporter and had a lot of faith in me. I cannot say enough good things about Mr. Harris. He stuck with me through the good times and bad.”

Deer Run finished second in the 2002 Frank J. De Francis Dash (G1). Sassy Hound, a horse bred by Harris, finished third in that same race.

“That would have been a great race for him to win because he was actually there,” added Grove. “He only came to five races in all those years. He went to Colonial twice and to Philadelphia (Park) to watch Deer Run. The last time he watched a race was when Sweet Goodbye won the Maryland Million Oaks (2008).”

Sweet Goodbye won eight stakes races during her 23-race career with her biggest victory in the 2010 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2) at Laurel Park.

“He was a big supporter of Maryland racing from Virginia,” added Grove. “He was the biggest client at Murmur Farm (in Harford County) and was really excited when they got Louis Quatorze. He did a lot of homework and was able to win with homebreds. We lost only one runner (via a claim) that did better after leaving us and he was very proud of that. That meant we got the most out of every horse and was more important than the money.”


After nearly eight weeks of the Laurel Park fall meeting, three trainers have separated themselves from the pack. Hugh McMahon tops the standings with 18 victories, two more than Jamie Ness with Mike Trombetta three back.

McMahon, who topped the Laurel Park winter meet standings earlier this year, visited the winners’ circle with Prospero ($12.60) in Friday’s eight race feature, a $42,000 allowance.

Ness captured today’s second race with Three Bagger ($4.80), moving to within five of 2,000 for his career.

Trombetta has saddled 11 winners in the last 14 live racing cards.

Jerry Robb ranks fourth, winning 10 races from just 19 starters.


Trevor McCarthy moved into sole possession of first place in the rider standings after scoring aboard in The Juice ($7.20-race 4) and Toni With an I ($8.20-race 6) this afternoon. The 19-year-old has 26 victories in the first 30 days of the meet, two more than fellow apprentice Victor Carrasco. Veteran Julian Pimentel ranks third with 21first place finishes.


About Laurel Park

Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.