John Harris Named to California Horse Racing Board

By Debbie Arrington
The California Horse Racing Board finally has its quorum, and its newest member should be well prepared for the work ahead. On Thursday, Gov. Gray Davis named John C. Harris to the CHRB, which oversees the state's racing industry. The appointment came the day after the CHRB had to cancel its meeting due to lack of quorum. Harris couldn't have made the Wednesday meeting if he had been named a day earlier; he was in Kentucky attending the November horse sales.

Well known in California horse racing, Harris has been a leader as well as a top breeder and owner. Harris' family is famed for its sprawling, 18,000-acre Harris Ranch, a fixture on Interstate 5 near Coalinga. With his father Jack, Harris launched the ranch's thoroughbred division, Harris Farms, 34 years ago. In addition, John Harris and his wife Carole own the Harris River Ranch, some 7,000 acres on the Kings River near Sanger where they call home.

Harris Farms is home to 10 stallions, including Cee's Tizzy, who sired Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Tiznow. Other familiar Harris stallions are Flying Continental, High Brite, Moscow Ballet, Cutlass Reality, Tinners Way, and Steinlen.

Harris co-owned and bred sprint star Soviet Problem as well as campaigned Moscow Changes, Teresa Mc, and Work the Crowd. On the management side, he is the former chairman of Bay Meadows Operating Co. Relocation of that San Mateo track will be among the hottest topics before the CHRB in coming months.

Harris, 57, also is a former steward of the The Jockey Club and a past president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. He is a graduate of UC Davis.