Blue Chip Farms & Joe Thomson USHWA finalists

07:23 AM 13 Nov 2013 NZDT
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Blue Chip Farms & Joe Thomson USHWA Award Finalists

Freehold, N.J. --- Blue Chip Farms and Joe Thomson of Winbak Farm are the finalists for the U.S. Harness Writers Association's 2013 Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award, an honor in the sport second only to election to the Hall of Fame.

Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award finalists were determined through preliminary voting of the directors of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). The entire membership of USHWA will vote for the winner, which will be announced in late December.

The Proximity Award has been given by USHWA since 1952 to "an individual, group, or organization for outstanding contributions of the harness racing industry." Last year, USHWA added the name of the late Stan Bergstein, a Hall of Famer and widely-respected contributor to harness racing during the last 50 years, to the name of the most prestigious award for which it is the sole voter.

Blue Chip Farms, founded in Wallkill, N.Y., in 1969 by the Kimelman family and now owned by Thomas Grossman, is one of harness racing's top breeding farms. Blue Chip's best known graduate is Gallo Blue Chip, who was 2000 Horse of the Year and retired as the top money-winning pacer in harness racing history.

Grossman was the first to send a top stallion to stand Down Under and now many of Blue Chip's stable, including American Ideal, Art Major, Rock N Roll Heaven and Roll With Joe, are dual-hemisphere stallions.

Blue Chip helped the fight for New York to get video lottery terminals in 2001 by creating and distributing orange helmet covers that simply said "Yes." They were worn by many drivers across the state and brought much attention to the cause. Blue Chip also sponsors races at numerous tracks and contributes to organizations such as the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, New Vocations, Harness Horse Youth Foundation and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.

Thomson, who was the Bergstein-Proximity Award runner-up to John Campbell in 2012, and his wife JoAnn founded Winbak Farm in 1991. Winbak Farm, based in Maryland with additional operations in Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Canada, bred Horse of the Year Award winners No Pan Intended, Rainbow Blue and Muscle Hill.

Winbak Farm ranked No. 2 in wins and earnings in 2012, behind only Hanover Shoe Farms, and this year is again second in both categories.

Last year, the Monticello-Goshen chapter of USHWA gave Thomson its Lifetime Achievement Award and he is also an inductee of the Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame. Thomson plays a leadership role in several areas of the sport, from being among the owners of The Red Mile in Lexington, to serving as a trustee and director of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and a director of the Hambletonian Society. In 2012, he was elected president of the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania.

The Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award winner will be honored at Dover Downs on Feb. 23 during USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet.

by Ken Weingartner for the U.S. Harness Writers Association


 

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