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John C. Harris Chat at Bay Meadows Race Track

Transcript of the Chat with John Harris
We wish to thank Bay Meadows Race Track for the use of this transcript.


John Harris (Fri Mar 14 16:57:24 MST 1997 ) - John is here and we will be starting in three minutes.
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Brad (Fri Mar 14 17:05:42 MST 1997 ) - What is Bay Meadows' position regarding the NTA? How will it affect California racing?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:06:25 MST 1997 ) - We are still waiting for questions. Here are a couple of things folks may be interested in. Soviet Problem is in foal to Seattle Slew, she should foal in mid April and will be bred back to Arazi. Work The Crowd is in foal to Moscow Ballet, she'll foal any day now.
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:10:46 MST 1997 ) - I still haven't completely figured out all the details of the NTA. I'm all for better national promotion which is one of the facets of their program. One of the keys to making NTA work is their ability to sell races at a much higher fee than is now the case. Each track and its horse owners are obviously assessing how this will impact their revenues. I think Bay Meadows would be supportive if we were at least revenue neutral. I hope that NTA can convince Nevada to pay a fair price for the signal.
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Jon (Fri Mar 14 17:13:43 MST 1997 ) - Mr. Harris, who do you like in the KY Derby?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:15:57 MST 1997 ) - Pulpit is the obvious favorite at this point, but he still need to win a few more times to be a true standout. One horse at a price is the Cal Bred ElCamino Real Derby victor, Pacific Bounty.
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Mike (Fri Mar 14 17:16:14 MST 1997 ) - Mr. Harris, do you see any light at the end of the tunnel concerning the Nevada simulcasting negotiations?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:19:50 MST 1997 ) - We are kind of at an impasse right now. I feel it is simply not fair to sell to Nevada at a fee that lets the casinos keep 10 times the amount that comes back to purses. Some sort of mediation or arbitration sounds logical to me , but apparently Nevada has turned it down. Fortunately , here at Bay Meadows we have grown enough on track and in wagering from other areas that we're up overall so there is no rush to settle
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HolyBull (Fri Mar 14 17:19:59 MST 1997 ) - Mr. Harris, have you ever been an intern at UC Davis horse barn?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:21:56 MST 1997 ) - I graduated from UCD in 1965 with a BS in Agricultural Production. I have been involved with their horse program and the vet school over the years , but never worked there.
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Victor (Fri Mar 14 17:22:10 MST 1997 ) - Why should Nevada pay a higher fee and enter into another contract with California when Ca did not keep its word on the last contract. I find the administrators of Ca racing incompetent
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seven (Fri Mar 14 17:25:26 MST 1997 ) - Mr. Harris, is there a chance of Soviet Problem being bred to Tabasco Cat or Holy Bull.
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:27:06 MST 1997 ) - I guess incompetence is in the eye of the beholder. A key element of the contracts is the approval of the horse owners organization and the CHRB. These approvals never occurred in Santa Anita's contract thus it simply is not a valid contract. Bay Meadows contact has expired and we are not sending the signal until we get a reasonable one that is approved by the horse owners. I think we can get by without Nevada if they can't spare another 1% of so to pay a more equitable fee. I feel badly that their patrons don't get to see our races or bet into our pools, but it's really up to them to pay more.
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:28:10 MST 1997 ) - Actually we looked at both of these stallions as I like them. We'll keep them in mind.
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HolyBull (Fri Mar 14 17:28:20 MST 1997 ) - Mr. Harris, since they are already cloning sheeps, why don't they clone Cigar?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:31:54 MST 1997 ) - Is it sheep or sheeps? Actually I think their is very little likelihood that Cigar or any other thoroughbred will be cloned anytime soon. The Jockey Club which polices all registrations is pretty adverse to new technology, they don't even allow artificial insemination. Cloning is getting allot of hype, but unless the environment was exactly the same, you might not get another Cigar anyway.
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Mike (Fri Mar 14 17:32:08 MST 1997 ) - What's your opinion of the revised conditions for Cal-breds in allowance races for 1997?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:35:07 MST 1997 ) - Actually this is something CTBA has been trying to get done for the last 10 years. The idea is to let a horse win a state bred race and still be eligible for an open non winners other than . We just added 'State Bred' to claiming and maiden. I think it will make Cal Breds more valuable and help fill races.
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Classy Lady (Fri Mar 14 17:35:13 MST 1997 ) - Mr. Harris, is CA racing superior to the East?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:38:38 MST 1997 ) - Overall I think it is. We have the most competitive racing in the world out here. One guideline is the number of foreign horses competing. The purses, especially in the south are as high or higher than anywhere and that's a big magnet. Up here in Northern California our claiming horses would be tough at any track in the country at their level.
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Becky (Fri Mar 14 17:38:47 MST 1997 ) - Mr. Harris, do you have any good 2-year-olds going in the Fall?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:41:13 MST 1997 ) - Hope springs eternal. Every horse owner thinks he'll have some good 2 year olds by fall. We have 5 fillies with Carla Gaines at Hollywood Park and I like all of them. They should start in April. Policy Issue is probably the best
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Mike (Fri Mar 14 17:41:16 MST 1997 ) - Any opinions/concern regarding the announcement that Daily Racing Form has gone up for sale?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:45:34 MST 1997 ) - I wish I had enough money to buy it. Actually I guess it was somewhat predictable that KIII would eventually spin it off. I guess they viewed it as not much of a growth publication. I hope for the future of racing that they are wrong. With all the internet wagering potential I think the Form has good potential both in the traditional newspaper format and as a leader in information highway type stuff. It will be interesting to see who ends up with it. I hope it is someone with a love for horse racing.
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HolyBull (Fri Mar 14 17:45:40 MST 1997 ) - Mr.Harris, I heard that 98 breeder's cup might be held in Hong Kong, what do you think about the cup going overseas?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:48:48 MST 1997 ) - By 1998 Hong Kong will be part of Mainland China. I don't think there is any chance of the Breeder's Cup going there, but maybe they could do a World's Cup like Dubai is doing. I think they have been trying to run more international races there which is good. They sure do get the crowds and they bet.
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Mike (Fri Mar 14 17:48:51 MST 1997 ) - What would you say are a couple of your greatest racing moments?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:53:35 MST 1997 ) - Probably when Soviet Problem ran second in the Breeder's Cup. She ran very gamely and should have won, but I felt so good about her that it didn't matter. Actually I like to see my horses run well and any level and sometimes it a real thrill to see a horse break it's maiden for $8000 if you have raised it and developed it.
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HolyBull (Fri Mar 14 17:54:01 MST 1997 ) - Mr. Harris, how did you get involved with the breeding business? Where did you acquire the knowledge/skills? And when was the first time you worked with horses?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 17:58:43 MST 1997 ) - My father and I started going to the races together when I was about 10 years old. Allot of horse owners have a similar story. We started breeding horses in the early 60's. I took some courses at UCD , but most of the debatable knowledge I have, I have picked up from talking to people, reading articles, seeing how others did things, etc. I was around horses at a young age, but never have been what I would consider an all around horseman. I did work as a groom at the track a few summers.
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oakcrest99 (Fri Mar 14 17:58:57 MST 1997 ) - Does Bay Meadows buy your dinner for providing this service to their patrons.
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 18:00:04 MST 1997 ) - They sure better be or I'm out of here. Actually I was thinking of including wine and desert.
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seven (Fri Mar 14 18:01:26 MST 1997 ) - do you bet?
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 18:04:10 MST 1997 ) - Of course! I like the saying "The only worse thing than a bad bet is no bet". I am relatively conservative, but like to have something going whenever I can. I am probably an OK handicapper,but am too biased towards trainers, jockeys, or breeding that I like.
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John Harris (Fri Mar 14 18:06:23 MST 1997 ) - It was nice to be here and I appreciate the questions. Good luck at the races.


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