Bertram and Diana Firestone
Bertram Robert Firestone (August 18, 1931 – July 12, 2021) and Diana Johnson Firestone (born January 26, 1932) of Newstead Farm in Upperville, Virginia are major owner/breeders of Thoroughbred equestrian and flat racing horses. They were voted the 1980 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner and in 1982 were inducted in the Virginia Thoroughbred Association Hall of Fame. They are former owners of Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park in Florida. The Firestones' Genuine Risk was known for winning the 1980 Kentucky Derby.
Bertram Firestone was a highly successful industrial real estate developer. Diana Johnson is the daughter of John Seward Johnson I and Ruth Dill. One of the couple's six children, her paternal grandfather, Robert Wood Johnson I, was the founder of the health related products manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson. Her maternal grandfather, Colonel Thomas Melville Dill, was a prominent Bermudian soldier, lawyer, and politician.
The Firestones raced horses in the United States and in Europe. Bertram Firestone bought the thoroughbred Ridin' Easy in 1966 from a Keeneland sale for $15,000 and in 1969 won the Fashion Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack and the Polly Drummond Stakes at the Delaware Park Racetrack.
Bertram bought the colt King’s Company for 35,000 guineas, that won the Irish 2,000 Guineas Turf Classic in May 1971 at the at the Curragh Racecourse. The horse went on to take the Cork and Orrery Stakes at the Royal Ascot in 1972.
Bertram bought the Catoctin Stud farm in Waterford, Virginia in 1973. In 1991 he and Diana acquired the Newstead Farm in Upperville, Virginia. For racing in Europe, they operated the 1,200 acre Gilltown Stud farm in Kilcullen, County Kildare, Ireland near the famous Curragh, which they sold in 1989 to the Aga Khan IV for $14.2 million.
They also bred and raced Secretariat's son, General Assembly whose Saratoga track record time in winning the 1979 Travers Stakes stood until 2016. Trained by Dermot Weld, the Firestones' Blue Wind won the 1981 Epsom Oaks and Flash of Steel won the 1986 Irish 2000 Guineas. In November, 1982 they won the Japan Cup with 3-year-old colt Half Iced. They were the breeders of Vintage Crop that won Australia's Melbourne Cup in 1993.
Marriage and childrenEdit
Bertram married Diana in 1973. They were each divorced with three children by a previous marriage. Firestone was married twice prior to his marriage to Diana. First to Lynn Belnap in 1955 and second to Dariel Henderson in 1962.
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