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WILLIAM R. HARRIS 1929 – 2013

harris-pic(Blood Horse & Richmond Times Dispatch) Noted Mid-Atlantic-based owner-breeder William R. Harris died Nov. 8 at his home in Mineral, Va., according to trainer Chris Grove. He was 84 years old.

Harris bred and owned multiple stakes winners Sweet Goodbye ($692,772), Five Steps ($413,746), and Deer Run ($408,530).All three of those horses were bred in Maryland.

“He was always the biggest client in the barn,” Grove said. “In our heyday he owned 22 or 23 horses in our 50-stall barn at Bowie, so he got a lot of my attention. We talked on the phone just about every other day. I worked for him since 2000 but only saw him six or seven times but we talked on the phone religiously.

“He was really like a grandfather to me. He was a big supporter and had a lot of faith in me. I cannot say enough good things about Mr. Harris. He stuck with me through the good times and bad.”

Deer Run, by Deerhound, finished second in the 2002 Frank J. De Francis Dash (gr. I). Sassy Hound, a horse bred by Harris, finished third in that same race.

“That would have been a great race for him to win because he was actually there,” added Grove. “He only came to five races in all those years. He went to Colonial (Downs) twice and to Philadelphia (Park) to watch Deer Run. The last time he watched a race was when Sweet Goodbye won the Maryland Million Oaks (2008).”

Sweet Goodbye, by Louis Quatorze, won eight stakes races during her 23-race career with her biggest victory in the Fritchie at Laurel Park

Harris was president of Harris Heating and Plumbing Co., Inc., a Hanover-based mechanical contracting firm, and was an accomplished residential developer and builder in Central Virginia. He served on the Board of Directors of F&M National Corp., now BB&T Corp., and most recently was a founding director of Peoples Bank of Virginia.

Harris was a lifelong farmer and felt most at home in the fields of Louisa and Hanover Counties.

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