The Chosen Vron Strikes Again

         The Chosen Vron and jockey Hector I. Berrios win the $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes at Del Mar                                                      Benoit Photo

The flashy chestnut The Chosen Vron moved forward early, then accelerated late as is his style and came away a two and three-quarter length winner of the $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes at Del Mar, capturing his 14th victory in his 19th start in yet another display of his exceptional ability.

The 5-year-old gelding by the late sire Vronsky earned a check for $57,000 and pushed his career bankroll to $1,149,678 for running seven furlongs in a quick 1:21.22. Rider Hector Berrios won his ninth stakes on the horse, who is owned by the partnership of Sondereker Racing, J. Eric Kruljac (his trainer), Robert Fetkin and Richard Thornburgh. Kruljac conditions the horse.

“He was running good today,” said Berrios.”I didn’t know if I was going to be on the lead, but I was good either way. Is this the best horse I’ve ever ridden? ‘YES!’ Is he fun to ride? ‘YES!’”

“He’s been unreal,” said an admiring Kruljac. “Coming back in two weeks is something I’ve never done. I was a little nervous but he came back so well and so fast from Breeders’ Cup. The horse was so lively today maybe we’ll just let him roll early from now on. Once he started widening I felt pretty certain. What a blessing this horse is.”

Finishing second in the Cal-bred feature was William Peeples’ Big City Lights, who has now run second to The Chosen Vron in his last four starts. Running third four and a quarter lengths back was R L Stables’ Moose Mitchell.

The Chosen Vron, a stout 1/ 2 favorite, returned $3.00 to his backers.

In his previous two outings, the winner had run fifth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on November 4, after proving best in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar on July 29. He also had won the Cary Grant last year.

Training Division Changes Announced at Harris Farms

November 14, 2023

Dear friends and colleagues,

I’d like to share a few changes within our horse division, specifically our in-house training
program located in Coalinga.

Our longtime farm trainer, Per Antonsen, will be transitioning into a consulting role, focused on
enhancing communication, evaluation of horses and providing insight to the status of Harris
Farms owned horses in training at each racetrack in California. Per will work closely with Jonny
Hilvers in providing feedback and recommendations for the betterment of our racing goals.
Per has led our in-house training program in Coalinga for over four decades, training both home
bred as well as client horses. He has trained several of the very best that California has produced.
Per has an exceptional ability to analyze talent in young horses and train them to reach their
potential. We look forward to continuing to work with Per in advancing our strategy to remain a
premier Californian racing operation.

Dan Morgan will now be leading the training operations under the management of Jonny Hilvers.
Dan has spent his entire career in the racing industry and will continue to build on the program
we have in place today. We have lofty expectations for our program, and we’re committed to
continue the legacy of Harris Farms racing under Dan’s leadership.

We look forward to visiting with you where “the turf meets the surf”, “the great race place”,
“where the bay comes to play”, or a local racetrack or betting venue near you. As we face
headwinds and challenges within our industry, it’s always refreshing and reassuring that we can
all work together and are aligned in our efforts to advocate for the continuation and betterment of
the industry.

Dan Morgan is available by cell at (602) 920-1920 or email or
you can contact Jonny Hilvers at (559) 903-4391 or
We welcome you to come and visit our facilities and tour our operations. I’m committed to the
continuation of our sport which we all love.

John C. Harris

Harris-bred, Raised and Sold Chancery Way Wins $100,000 Betty Grable S.

                                                                             Chancery Way winning the $100,000 Betty Grable Stakes                                                      Benoit Photo

Courtesy of Del Mar (November 12, 2023) – Smolich or Smolich’s Chancery Way proved too quick for six rivals Sunday at Del Mar in the 28th edition of the Betty Grable Stakes scooting to a three and three-quarter length triumph in the seven-panel affair.

The $100,500 test was for California-bred fillies and mares and the winner is a 4-year-old daughter of one of the state’s top sires – Mr. Big. She covered the distance in front all the way and finished up in 1:22.43.

Finishing second was the race favorite, Nick Alexander’s Rose Dawson, while third – just a neck behind – was Alexander’s Carmen Miranda.

The winner was ridden by Antonio Fresu and trained by Jamey Thomas, a Northern California-based conditioner who was taking his first stakes at the shore oval. She returned $7.80 to win to her backers.

“I didn’t know anything about this filly before I rode her today, but I went back and looked at film of some of her races,” said Fresu. “I could see she had speed and it looked like she could finish well. I thought the seven furlongs would be a good distance for her. When we turned for home, she really went. It all worked out well.”

“She broke sharp and Antonio (Fresu) put her on the lead like we thought we’d be and it worked out perfect for us,” said Thomas. “She’s been training really good and so we thought ‘she’s ready to roll let’s find us a race’ and this happened to be the one.”

Chancery Way earned a first prize of $57,000 to increase her lifetime bankroll to $270,770. Her tally was her sixth in 11 total starts.

Harris-Sired Trifecta in Golden Nuggetts Stakes

Albany, CA (November 11, 2023) – Harris Farms’ stallions Tamarando, Stanford, and Smiling Tiger sired the first three finishers in the $65,350 Golden Nugget Stakes for 2-year-olds going six furlongs over the all weather at Golden Gate Fields.

Leading home the trifecta was Wild Jewels, the previously stakes-place Tamarando gelding, who had the most experience of our young trio. Stanford colt Good Lovin, who was coming off a maiden special weight victory in his racing debut, engaged in an early pace duel, with Wild Jewels tracking in third. As the one early challenger dropped back, Wild Jewels launched his bid. He came to Good Lovin and they fought throughout the stretch. Wild Jewels got the best of him in the later stages to win by three-quarters of a lengths. Melanie’s Tiger rallied in the late stages to completel the sweep.

Wild Jewels is a second generation homebred for Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams. Trained by Steven Specht, he has three wins and one second in five career starts and he has earned $103, 810. He is out of their winning Distorted Humor mare, Ribbon of Jewels.

Homebred Closing Remarks Charges to $200,000 Goldikova Stakes (G2) Victory

                                      Harris Homebred Closing Remarks Wins the $200,000 Goldikova Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita                                             Benoit Photo

Courtesy of Santa Anita Park Arcadia, CA (Nov. 5, 2023) – With a hot pace to run at, California-bred Closing Remarks rallied from far back to take Sunday’s Closing day co-feature at Santa Anita, the Grade II, $200,000 Goldikova Stakes, getting one mile on turf in 1:32.69. Trained by Carla Gaines and ridden by Juan Hernandez, the 5-year-old mare by Vronsky was up to win by a half length over favored Queen Goddess.

As expected, Irish-bred Hamwood Flier went to the front out of the gate and enjoyed a two length advantage over Queen Goddess around the Club House turn. Heading up the backside, Closing Remarks had one horse beat while about seven off the lead.

Heading to the far turn, Hernandez opted to sit chilly as Lucky Girl rallied from last to her outside but Closing Remarks would soon be into gear three-deep turning for home and rolled late to easily reel in the favorite well inside the sixteenth pole.

Owned and bred in California by Harris Farms, Inc., Closing Remarks, a three-time graded stakes winner who was most recently fourth going a mile and one quarter on turf in the Grade II Rodeo Drive here on Oct. 7, was off at 5-1 in a field of six fillies and mares three and up and paid $13.60, $4.20 and $2.60.

Out of the Unusual Heat mare Orange Cove, Closing Remarks now has five overall stakes wins and is 7-5-4 from 24 career starts. With today’s winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $999,320.

Queen Goddess, idle since third in the Grade I Gamely Stakes here on May 29, overtook Hamwood Flier a furlong out but was no match for the winner late. Off at even money under Luis Saez, Queen Goddess returned $3.00 and $2.40.

Hamwood Flier, ridden by Flavien Prat, held off eastern shipped Full Count Felicia by a head and paid $3.40 to show while off at 4-1.

Santa Anita’s leading rider through 18 racing days, Hernandez notched his league-leading seventh stakes win and his 24th overall victory.

Fractions on the race were 22.67, 45.38, 1:08.38 and 1:20.42.

Grand Slam Smile Wins Golden State Juvenile Fillies on Breeders’ Cup Card

Grand Slam Smile Rolls to Victory in the $175,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies on Breeders’ Cup Day 1                              Benoit Photo

Courtesy of Santa Anita Park ARCADIA, CA (Nov. 3, 2023)—Based for decades at Golden Gate Fields, trainer Steve Specht and jockey Frank Alvarado teamed for an emotional 7 ¼ length score in Friday’s $175,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita, as Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams’ homebred Grand Slam Smile steamed to a huge 7 ¼ length score, getting seven furlongs in 1:24.55.

The Golden State Juvenile Fillies is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.

Breaking from post position seven, Grand Slam Smile was in hand early as Recalcitrant and heavily favored Mirinda traded punches on the front end. Confidently handled by Alvarado, Grand Slam Smile engaged the top pair a half mile out and raced as a team with Mirinda to the quarter pole, with the winner gaining the advantage shortly thereafter in a huge effort.

Idle since recovering from a foot issue following a second place finish in Del Mar’s CTBA Stakes Aug. 6, Grand Slam Smile was the second choice among a field of 10 California-bred fillies at 5-2 and paid $7.80, $5.20 and $3.00.

By Smiling Tiger out of the Grand Slam mare Royal Grand Slam, Grand Slam Smile, who took the Fasig Tipton Debutante at Santa Anita in her second start on June 17, is now a two-time stakes winner with three wins from four starts. With today’s winner’s share of $99,750 she increased her earnings to $206,900.

Based at Los Alamitos, Petit Filet was off at 45-1 with Ricardo Ramirez and paid $26.80 and $8.00.

Finishing 1 ½ lengths back in third was 1-5 favorite Mirinda. Ridden by Mike Smith, she returned $2.20 to show while finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Prancingthruparis.

Fractions on the race were 21.91, 45.03, 1:10.79 and 1:24.55.

Harris Homebred On the Whim Blazes to MSW Victory at Santa Anita

Arcadia, CA (October 21, 2023) – Overcoming some early race greenness, Harris Farms’ homebred On the Whim gave hope for a promising future, running down the favorite in his career debut to win the 5th race on the Santa Anita card, a six and one-half furlong maiden special weight over the firm turf course.

The 3-year-old son of Acclamation was away in good order, but the main track crossover offered a challenge for the inexperience youngster. Once past that and refocused, On the Whim went after the leader, who was zipping along in uncontested fashion. He had closed the gap at the top of the stretch and he flew past his competition completing six furlongs in 1:08.12. He continued to stride out to the wire to win by two and one-quarter lengths in a final time of 1:14.20, not far off the track mark of 1:13.70.

On the Whim is trained Dean Pederson. He is out of the Maria’s Mon mare, Whimsy. He enjoyed getting his picture taken from the start.

Harris-Bred 2-year-Old Filly Now Two-for-Three

Arcadia, CA (October 20, 2023) – Satellite Heart, the 2-year-old Accelerate filly co-bred by Harris Farms and Don Valpredo, took her young career record to two wins and a second in three starts after her victory in the 6th race at Santa Anita, a six furlong allowance over the fast main track.

The chestnut miss dashed away from post three and was quickly on the outside by an equally ambitious foe. Their battle lasted until the top of the stretch. A fresh challenger loomed, but Satellite Heart pinned her ears and would not let her by. She crossed under the line a half-length best in a very game effort.

Satellite Heart was purchase from the Harris Farms’ consignment at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Fall California Yearling and Horses of All Ages Sale for $35,000 by Todd Tomazic. She races for the partnership of Valle Las Palmas LLC, Robert T. Cannon, Kelley Goodwin and Timothy Goodwin and she is trained by Alfredo Marquez. She was produced by the Unusual Heat mare, Tahitian Lagoon, a granddaughter of the Harris Farms champion, Soviet Problem.

Kings River Knight Flies Down Hillside Turf Course at Santa Anita

                                               Kings River Knight Winning the $100,000 California Flags H. by 11 1/2 Lengths.                                                 Benoit Photo

Courtesy of Santa Anita Park ARCADIA, CA (Oct. 15, 2023)—A winner of three out of his last four starts coming in, John Sadler’s talented 5-year-old gelding Kings River Knight rallied powerfully under Juan Hernandez to take Sunday’s $100,000 California Flag Handicap by 1 ½ lengths as he got about 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:10.75.

The California Flag is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.

As expected, highly accomplished stakes winner Brickyard Ride went to the front out of the gate, leading by a half length over Sadler’s other entrant, Lil Nass, to the dirt crossing at the top of the stretch. From there, heavily favored Kings River Knight loomed menacingly four-deep and wrested control from Brickyard Ride a furlong out.

“This horse is getting better every race,” said Hernandez. “Today, he broke really sharp but a couple of those other horses are faster early so I just let him see what was going on and let him breathe in the early part of the race. When we crossed the dirt, I picked him up and he responded back to me. Crossing the dirt was no problem and when we got back on the grass, he switched leads and opened up.”

Second, beaten a nose in his only other hillside try, the statebred Sensational Star Stakes five starts back on March 19, Kings River Knight was most recently a facile two length winner versus statebreds going one mile on dirt in the EB Johnston Stakes at Los Alamitos Sept. 16.

Off as the 4-5 favorite in a field of seven 3-year-olds and up today, Kings River Knight paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10.

Owned by Integrity Thoroughbred Racing, LLC, The Ellwood Johnston Trust and Kenneth Tevelde, Kings River Knight, a 5-year-old gelding by Acclamation who was unraced until June of his 4-year-old year, bagged his fourth statebred stakes win and improved his overall mark to 13-7-5-0.

Bred in California by the Johnston family’s Old English Rancho, Kings River Knight is out of the Poteen mare Seasontoperfection. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $426,010.

“He’s been almost dominant in this division this year,” said Sadler. “A lovely horse. It brings wonderful memories. Buddy Johnston was my neighbor (here at Santa Anita) for 25 or 30 years, so it’s good to see those silks still going.”

Far back early, Johnny Podres rallied nicely for the place under Kyle Frey. Off at 20-1, he paid $9.20 and $4.60.

None Above the Law was last early, weaved his way through traffic the final furlong, but couldn’t go with Johnny Podres late, finishing third by 1 ¾ lengths over Brickyard Ride. The third choice in the tote at 5-1 with Joe Bravo up, None Above the Law paid $2.80 to show.

Fractions on the race were 20.97, 42.95 and 1:05.06.


Stanford 2-Year-Old Wins Maiden Special Weight by Eight in Debut

Fresno, CA (October 15, 2023) – Good Lovin, the 2-year-old son of Stanford, blew the field away with a dazzling career debut in the 3rd race at the Big Fresno Fair going five furlongs over the fast track.

Breaking form the outside post in the field of seven vying for their maiden special weight diploma, he was quickly able to clear several of his inside foes and engage in the battle for the lead. They clipped along through an opening quarter in 22.18. Their contest lasted until the final turn, when Good Lovin began to open up his advantage. He had a three length lead at the top of the stretch after a half in 44.61. He continued on powerfully to wire to win by eight lengths. Final time was a crisp 57.25.

Good Lovin is a homebred racing for Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and he is trained by Ruby Thomas. He is out of the winning Street Sense mare, Wife Approved.