The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) on Thursday released the majority of their 2013 human award winners for excellence in the Standardbred industry. Heading the list is Joe Thomson, winner of the Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award.
The award, originally named for the great trotting mare, Proximity, is considered the second-most-prestigious honor in harness racing, after the Hall of Fame. In 2012, the name of the award was altered to honor harness racing's only double Hall of Famer, the Stanley F. Bergstein, and is now referred to as the Bergstein-Proximity award. It is presented annually to a person or organization for outstanding contributions to harness racing.
In 1991, Thomson and his wife JoAnn founded Winbak Farm on the site of Winfield Farm, where the great Thoroughbred Northern Dancer was foaled. They employed the Win from Winfield with the initials of their children--Bradley, Ashlee and Kimberly--to form the name Winbak.
Their main farm is located on more than 2,000 acres near Chesapeake City, Md. Winbak Farms has been named Breeder of the Year by USHWA three times. This past July, two horses owned by Winbak Farm, Bettor's Delight and Lady Ashlee Ann, were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Over the last 10 years, Thomson's Winbak Farm bred, raised and sold three Horses of the Year -- No Pan Intended in 2003, Rainbow Blue in 2004 and Muscle Hill in 2009. Muscle Hill and Vivid Photo were both Hambletonian winners bred by Winbak, which also produced 2011 Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year Roll With Joe.
Thomson, one of four partners in the ownership of Lexington's Red Mile, is involved in many aspects of the Standardbred industry. He is a director of the Hambletonian Society, Breeders Association of Delaware, Lexington Trots Breeders Association, and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.
He was elected president of the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania in 2012. Other honors he has received include 2001 Sports Eye Breeder of the Year, 2001 times: In Harness Owner of the Year, 2009 Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame inductee, and 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA.
All of the award winners will be honored at the annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet hosted by USHWA on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 at Dover Downs. (HRC)