National Thoroughbred Racing Association executive Joe Morris is leaving the association again, this time to pursue opportunities at MI Developments.
Morris is senior vice president of NTRA Advantage, the industry group purchasing program he helped grow when he first joined the NTRA in 2002. At the time, Morris was running the John Deere program for EquiSource, a group hired to operate group purchasing for the NTRA. The association then acquired EquiSource and Morris, a former racetrack manager from Maine, took over as president in 2003, growing the program (renamed NTRA Purchasing) from about $10 million in sales in 2002 to over $115 million in 2007.
Morris left the NTRA in 2007 to become publisher of the Thoroughbred Times Co. He held that position until August of last year when he rejoined the rebranded NTRA Advantage program.
Effective July 1, Morris is moving on to MI Developments, the real estate company controlled by owner/breeder Frank Stronach, where he has been named vice president of operations and sales for the properties.
“Joe has a proven record of success working in collaborative ways within the Thoroughbred industry and creating partnerships with other equine interests and breeders to create value and operational efficiencies,” said Mike Rogers, senior vice president of racing, who oversees all the company’s racetracks. Morris will report to Rogers. “He will be a tremendous addition to our team as we look for ways to better serve our customers and horsemen alike,” Rogers added.
MID is in the middle of a restructuring, the goal of which is for Stronach to give up all his holdings in MID in exchange for sole ownership of the company’s racing assets—Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Pimlico, and AmTote International. These racing assets will be spun off and operated by a separate entity.
“I look forward to the opportunity to work directly for the first time with Frank Stronach, one of the visionaries of our industry and a man whom I have admired for my whole career in racing, and his management team,” said Morris. “The organization has a strong portfolio of assets highlighted by Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, the Preakness and HRTV that I am confident will be very attractive to a number of new business partners.”
Breeders’ Cup president and chief executive officer Greg Avioli resigned back in March to take a position as president and CEO of MID’s racing and gaming division. Morris previously worked with Avioli as the president of NTRA Purchasing.
After Morris leaves, NTRA chief financial officer Vicky Baumgardner will oversee NTRA Advantage while a replacement for Morris is sought.