Photo: Don August
Golden Gate Fields General Manager Joe Morris announced late last week that he is stepping down to become the president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.
Morris came to GGF in October of 2011 when then GM Robert Hartman stepped down to pursue other endeavors. When he arrived he was given the term “interim”, basically because nobody knew how long he would be here.
“I came here to turn the place around and we have done that,” Morris said. “ The handle is up for the first time in many years, the P & L has turned around and things are going well. It has been a total team effort and I’m very proud of what everyone has done here. I've enjoyed my time here it has been fantastic.”
Morris (right) will finish out the current meet which ends June 16th.
“For me, it’s a better opportunity personally with the TOC,” Morris said. “We have accomplished a lot here but with every new job comes a new set of challenges and instead of working at one track I will be dealing with several different sets of issues that comes at a very challenging time for California racing.”
The tracks attendance has been buoyed by $1 Sundays, which regularly draws over 5,000 people to enjoy the sun drenched afternoons.When asked who would be replacing him, Morris wasn’t sure, but did say he had a recommendation.
“I suggested that they don’t put anyone here,” Morris said. “With people in place like David Jerkens (racing secretary) , Calvin Rainey (vice president and asst. GM), Peter Tunney (executive VP) and Dan Cirimele (Director of Marketing), everyone knows their job and does a good job to make the place run. It’s a total team effort.”
Hollendorfer In Midst of Big Year
To say trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is enjoying one of his best years ever, may be an understatement. The hall of famer just ended the Santa Anita meet with 35 winners, just three behind meet winner Bob Baffert. Through almost four months of 2013, Jerry has 81 wins and has winners have made more than $3 million. His best year ever in earnings was 2010 when his horses made over $9 million.The king was highlighted on two coasts on April 14th when he won the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland with Ciao Bella Luna and later that day took the $70,000 Santa Lucia Stakes at Santa Anita with Sister Kate.