John Moores getting heavily into horse racing

His buddy Charles Noell, an ally at Peregrine Systems, is partner

Former Padres owner John Moores and former Peregrine Systems audit committee chairman Charles Noell are expanding their thrust into horse racing. According to the Daily Racing Form, Moores and Noell have purchased 30 thoroughbred horses from Ireland's Kilfrush Stud. According to the publication, Moores and Noell also recently purchased Chanteclair Farm in Kentucky. They have other holdings in horse racing. The Daily Racing Form says that Moores and Noell are concerned about drugs in American racing, and feel European racing is comparatively free of such hanky-panky.

Moores was chairman of Peregrine Systems, which became San Diego's biggest fraud in the early part of the decade. Others were criminally convicted, but Moores got off with a payment modest by his standards, just as he had dodged any charges after showering gifts on a former councilwoman when he was trying to get his $300 million subsidy for the downtown ballpark. Moores dumped for fat profits more than $600 million of Peregrine stock that he had gotten for 33 cents to 59 cents a share. Noell, chairman of the audit committee, ducked any penalties even as the company was found to have cooked its books massively. Moores raked in an estimated $700,000 to $1 billion by selling ballpark district land that he had gotten for very low prices. Then he went off to Texas and sold the Padres. Both Moores and Noell got in early in a San Diego stock named ServiceNow and dumped shares quickly for millions of dollars.


There have been a few horse-doping scandals recently in Europe as well, but so far they seem to have a better handle on it than here in the U.S. I hope he runs his horses at Del Mar soon--I have never seen an owner get booed before, but if one of his horses wins, and I'm there that day, I'll boo the hell out of him. It probably won't mean a thing to him, but I will enjoy it immensely.

aardvark: With the money Moores extracted from San Diego (ballpark subsidy, land sales in ballpark district, more than $600 million dumped in Peregrine stock, etc.) he won't hear the boos. Best, Don Bauder

Don: Yes, that many million can buy lots of earplugs.

aardvark: He won't need earplugs. He doesn't care a whit about public opinion. Best, Don Bauder

Hmmm. He does seem to care about opinion writers sometimes. For example, he withdrew support from SDSU because someone at the student paper dared criticize his greed,

Then, he did care because he lived here. Now, not so much. He can just go back to Texas and count his millions.

aardvark: From what he took out of Peregrine and ServiceNow, made on the Padres sale, and also raked in from real estate sales tied to the ballpark deal, he probably took more than $1 billion back to Houston. Quite a haul. Best, Don Bauder

Moores has had his run-ins with the media in the past. After a critical article in The Reader, an alternative weekly newspaper, the reporter received a copy of his story wrapped around a fish. Moores' business card was in its mouth.


SurfPup: Yes, Matt Potter had done an excellent story about a mobster on the Padres board, as I recall. When I was with the U-T and pointing out Moores's greed, he would complain to a sportswriter who would then quote him as saying he was distressed that the U-T would allow such things about him to appear. And the sportswriter would print his comments. Moores and Lucchino would also complain about me to the top editors. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: Interesting how SDSU licked his boots. By that time in 2002, any intelligent person who reads would have known about Moores's greed. Best, Don Bauder

It's more difficult to dope horses without being caught in Europe because they don't allow the diuretic Lasix to be administered prior to a race. Lasix masks the use of other drugs. It is used in North America under the guise that it inhibits "bleeding", which over-stressed horses often do in their lungs during a race. Lasix should be banned in North America as well, there are plenty of folks in the industry who are pushing for that.

David Dodd: Doping horses is only one way to rig a race. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I brought this story up over on the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Fan Forum--the few comments so far have not been too kind to Moores.

aardvark: I don't know that he will have horses running at Del Mar. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I would expect at some point he would, since some of the larger purses in the country are at the Del Mar meet, but I wouldn't expect any there this summer.

aardvark: But if his horses are going to be clean, as he claims, what chance does he have racing them in the U.S.? Best, Don Bauder

There's no indication Moores is involved in doping. To the contrary, he went to Europe to find breeding stock with a drug-free gene pool. A man like Moores does not have to dope horses to win races. He can afford to buy the finest horses. The problem he faces is racing his horses against mediocre horses pumped up on dope.

Burwell: Again, I have no information that Moores is involved in doping. It seems to me he should run his European-bred horses in Europe so he won't be competing against doped-up horses in the United States. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: I don't know that Moores is involved in doping. He and Noell say they are buying the Irish horses because doping is less prevalent in Europe. Best, Don Bauder

Don: I guess Moores didn't care if his players were doping when he owned the Padres--the late Ken Caminiti was a prime example--at least until Prop C was approved by voters in 1998. Then, many of the ballplayers on that '98 team, including an already breaking down Caminiti, were dumped like spoiled milk. I have no faith that Moores won't do whatever it takes to be successful in horseracing, even if it means looking the other way from time to time, as he did with Caminiti.

aardvark: Yes, I remember Moores promising he would spend nibwt to build a team if voters would only pass the proposition outlining the $300 million subsidy. Media coverage was slanted in favor of the ballpark, of course. A bunch of star players stood before crowds and beseeched the people to approve the ballpark so Moores could pay big salaries to outstanding players. After he won the vote, Moores dumped the player. Now the Padres have one of the smallest payrolls in baseball. Best, Don Bauder

will they be asking the city to build a new race track any time soon?

Murphyjunk: Good question. The city council and downtown overlords -- who know a lot about horse manure -- will probably lead the charge. "Waah! If you don't give me a $300 million subsidy I will take my horses and go home!!" Best, Don Bauder

They should just fill in the bay in front of the convention center. They could build the biggest sports complex in history--race track, new stadium, new arena, expanded convention center--and don't forget all of the Olympic venues that need to be built for Filner's Folly.

aardvark: Don't talk too loudly, or filling in the bay for all those sports will become a major objective of the overlords. Best, Don Bauder

It might be an economic winner if the entrance to San Diego Bay is closed off and sealed from the ocean. Then, all the water could be pumped out of San Diego Bay creating a lot of new land for development. Either that or they could dust off that old plan to construct a canal between San Diego Bay and Mission Bay modeled after Venice, Italy.

Burwell: That's just what San Diego needs: more real estate development. Do you suppose Sunroad will be the first to build on the former ocean floor? Best, Don Bauder

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