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Harris Farms, Old English Rancho combine operations

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Combining two prominent California stallion rosters, John Harris's Harris Farms and the Johnston family's Old English Rancho recently announced that they have merged operations.

The joint venture is scheduled to stand 11 stallions in 2019, all located at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif. Harris previously stood California leading sires Unusual Heat and Lucky Pulpit, both of whom died in 2017. The farm has continued to make additions to its roster, with Grade 3 winner Prospect Park retiring to stud in 2019, and Grade 1 winner Majestic Harbor heading west after he began his career in Indiana in 2017. Those newcomers join the Harris roster, which includes 2017 California leading freshman Smiling Tiger, as well as Clubhouse Ride, Desert Code, Jeranimo, Lakerville, Mr. Big, and Tamarando

Moving to Harris from the Old English Rancho property in Sanger, Calif., just over an hour away, are Acclamation and Vronsky. Eclipse Award champion Acclamation, by Unusual Heat, is the sire of three crops of racing age. The veteran Vronsky is the sire of Grade 1 winner What A View.

In announcing their joint operating agreement, the farms also announced several leadership roles within the venture. Jonny Hilvers, the general manager of Old English Rancho for eight years, will continue on as general manager of the newly combined entity. Hilvers, 33, is the grandson of California owner and breeder Buddy Johnston and the great-grandson of Elwood Johnston, the founder of Old English Rancho.

“I feel incredibly blessed to have such a fine group of people come together with the common goal of producing Thoroughbreds that can compete at the very top levels," Harris, a member of The Jockey Club and a board member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, said in a release. 

Raul Rosas will continue as stallion manager of the roster at Harris.

Dave McGlothlin, who began managing Harris breeding stock in 1981, will remain as a consultant, while Per Antonsen, key in the early training of champions California Chrome and Tiznow at Harris, will continue in his longtime role of farm trainer.

Other members of the team include Jeanne Bowers Lepore, a veterinarian who has overseen Harris Farms equine health since 1997, and her associates; Debbie Sue Winick as office manager and customer relations specialist; Laurie Brown, manager of Harris's River Ranch operation; and Patricia Langden, foaling manager and sales prep assistant.

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