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Bay Area Backstretch

Morris stepping down as Golden Gate Fields GM

GGF Crowd 615 X 400
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. 


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Older Comments about Morris stepping down as Golden Gate Fields GM...

No competition from old Bay Meadows, but still pitifully small fields. NOT a place to wager.
I liked the last two paragraphs best. How about this year's Met Mile for another "away" win?
Interesting how he doesn't think anyone should replace him. I hope Golden Gate can continue the upward trends after his departure.

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Meet Don August

I have been involved in horse racing, from a fan to sportswriter, for the past 30 years. The first time my dad took me to the track, I picked a horse named "Black Tornado" and when he won, I was hooked.  From then on, I spent weekends and occasional school days at the race track, and my enjoyment of the sport led me to try my hand at being a jockey agent, which i did for 3 years. When that didn't work out as I had hoped, I concentrated on my writing career by covering big races and doing summer fair handicapping, off and on, for the Contra Costa Times.

Today, I stay involved in the sport by being part of a group that currently owns two horses stabled at Golden Gate Fields. As all owners, we have dreams of someday having that special horse.  Besides writing about horse racing I enjoy covering many sports and have had the honor of meeting and writing about some incredible athletes.

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