J. Robert Harris Jr., breeder/owner of 2005 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Baby Zip, died Jan. 1 at age 91.
Baby Zip, one of several stakes winners bred and/or raced by Harris, is the dam of 2004 Horse of the Year and champion older male Ghostzapper , plus grade I winner and successful sire City Zip. Ghostzapper, who ranked 21st on the 2009 first-crop sire’s list by progeny earnings, stands at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs near Paris, Ky. City Zip stands at William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Harris raced Baby Zip’s stakes-winning dam Thirty Zip, who won or placed in 27 stakes and was grade I stakes-placed at Saratoga. Harris’ was the breeder and/or owner of additional stakes winners Covert Operation, Gin Rummy Champ, Lucette, Rehoboth, and Bee Cee Cee, who was a stakes winner in 2009..
Born in Washington, D.C., Harris served as an officer with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), commanded by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, during World II in Europe. After the war, he served as president of Joseph R. Harris Co., a Washington-based retailer of women’s apparel founded by his father.
Harris’ survivors include four children, among them J. Robert Harris III, who worked part time at Keeneland and Churchill Downs while attending college in Lexington.
A memorial service will be held in Key Largo, Fla., at the Ocean Reef Club Chapel Jan. 23 at 1:00 p.m.