Dave McGlothlin in The Class of 2016 California Hall of Fame
Harris Farms has been a major force in California racing and breeding for decades, in large part due to owner John Harris and farm manager Dave McGlothlin. John Harris is already a member of the California Hall of Fame, and now McGlothlin joins him.
“It was a real surprise, and I am very honored,” said McGlothlin. “Tis is a culmination of everybody’s input. Everybody’s got a hand in it.”
McGlothlin came to Harris Farms in 1981.
“Dave has been a tremendous asset to Harris Farms,” said John Harris. “He combines a strong equine science background and a good way with people.”
A Seattle native who grew up in Colorado, McGlothlin worked with show horses in his 20s and earned a bachelor of science degree and a masters of science in reproductive physiology from Colorado State University. He managed a stallion farm in Idaho before joining the Harris team as manager of the horse division.
Harris Farms was first and foremost a large cattle operation, but the horse division has grown from 140 acres when McGlothlin frst arrived to 320 acres today, with the River Ranch and Annex bringing it to about 450 acres. Two national Horses of the Year have been raised at Harris—Tiznow and California Chrome—as well as a litany of stakes winners. Every year the farm is among the leaders on the list of California breeders.
Many of California’s leading sires have stood at Harris throughout the years. Te roster today includes Unusual Heat, Lucky Pulpit, Smiling Tiger, Heatseeker, Clubhouse Ride, Desert Code, Tizbud, and Lakerville.
“Since I handle the stallions in the breeding shed, I’ve gotten quite attached to quite a few of them over the years,” said McGlothlin. “Certainly Moscow Ballet is one of my favorites, and Lucky Pulpit and Unusual Heat are right up there.”
During these years McGlothlin and his wife, Sandy, have also raised a daughter, Lacy, and a son, Christopher. Central California has become their home, and McGlothlin knew he wanted to work for a first-class operation like Harris from the moment he interviewed for the position.
McGlothlin’s job involves plenty of hands-on work as well as managing the employees. He does both well, as demonstrated by the fact that many people at Harris have been there a long time. Per Antonsen, the farm’s trainer, arrived about six months after McGlothlin while stallion manager Raul Rosas has been there since 1983. Dr. Jeanne Bowers-Lepore has been working with Harris since 1992 and was hired as the resident veterinarian in 1997.
Everyone pitches in to help raise the horses.
“When people ask about Chrome, I say that all of us have fingerprints on him,” said McGlothlin.
The horse division had only two barns when McGlothlin started. As McGlothlin has wanted to expand, Harris has eagerly embraced it.
“He’s always been so forward- thinking and willing to try things,” said McGlothlin. “We were constantly in a state of construction, and it was fun. Our goal is to get the Kentucky Derby winner for him.”
McGlothlin and Harris believe in raising horses in large pastures so that they have room to grow and develop. McGlothlin recalls one particularly lucky pasture in which they raised Tiznow and Ceeband, a graded stakes winner and earner of $636,265, the same year.
Tiznow was always a big horse. McGlothlin tells the story of how the four colts in that pasture played so hard that McGlothlin was afraid they might inadvertently hurt each other and he had to separate them.
“It’s nice to have a one-two combination of Tiznow to California Chrome,” said McGlothlin. “We’re all very proud of both of them.”
Harris Farms is also proud of McGlothlin and his inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
“He has built up a fine team here and is well deserving of this award,” said John Harris. “He is a great communicator and well-liked by our many clients, as well as the horse community in general.” —Tracy Gantz