(photo by Cindy Pierson Dulay)
When MIKE FOX crossed the finish line just in front to win the 2007 Queen's Plate, D. MORGAN FIRESTONE had realized a lifelong dream with the animals he loves.
His homebred colt's gutsy score in the Canadian classic was popular and certainly deserving.
The owner/breeder, who stems from a long line of throoughbred lovers and foxhunting folks, had become ill five years earlier but was on hand for his Plate score and the tears flowed in the winner's circle as he hoisted the Plate trophy.
Firestone passed away yesterday at the age of 78.
His Firestone Farms, under construction and ready to house stallions Tomahawk and eventually Mike Fox, will continue to be operated by his widow Julie Firestone and manager Hugh Graham.
It has been a tough 2009 already with so many losses....
EXCERPT FROM CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED MAGAZINE
The fascinating part of Firestone’s first Plate victory was not just that Wilson became the first woman jockey to ride a Plate winner but that the owner has spent decades buying yearlings at auction and yet won the race with a homebred.
Firestone comes from a long line of horsepeople – racehorses loves, fox hunting types with a little bit of show jumping mixed in.
His mother, Dorothy, was co-owner of the fame Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky with her husband John. The Darby Dan operation is responsible for such world class horses as Ribot, Chateaugay, Proud Clarion and Roberto.
Firestone himself got involved in owning racehorses in the early 1980s while creating successful businesses in construction, plastics and motor homes. He is now retired from his high profile company Glendale International Inc.
While married to his previous wife Benta, Firestone raced grass stakes winners Shiny Key and Jalaajel and his horses were trained by Al Quanbeck.
“When I met Morgan he had some good runners and a couple of mares,” said (wife) Julie Firestone. “But his pride and joy was a mare in foal to Deputy Minister who was at Windfields Farm. She had a breach birth and then died herself and he was devastated. I told him maybe he should take a break from the business and he did for a couple of years.”
After Firestone and Julie were married, he slowly returned to horse ownership through the yearling sales.
“Oh, he never lost interest,” said Julie. “He’s always just wanted to have racehorses. He’s very competitive. It didn’t take him long to get fired up again.”
It was Mike Byrne, of Park Stud in Orangeville (where Firestone kept many of horses) that would bring Mike Fox into Firestone’s life.
IN TODAY'S PAPERS:
EXCERPT FROM HAMILTON SPECTATOR....
Philanthropist did great things for Hamilton
January 13, 2009
The Hamilton Spectator
Hamilton has lost one of its greatest philanthropists.
Morgan Firestone died today from complications from Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), a Parkinson’s-like disease he had been diagnosed with in 2002. He was 78.
Firestone, grandson of Harvey Firestone, the founder of the tire and rubber company, had been involved with all types of key organizations in the city, from McMaster University to the Art Gallery of Hamilton to the Hamilton Club and the Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
He is perhaps best known for fundraising for the world-renowned Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
He brought the likes of former U.S. president George H. Bush, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, movie icon Sophia Loren and former U.S. president Bill Clinton to speak at fundraising dinners at Carmen’s Banquet Centre on the east Mountain. He also helped bring former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to a fundraiser in Toronto.
“He was someone who loved to do things for other people,” his wife Julie said tonight. “The biggest joy in his life was to help others. He was a giver. He was a very special guy.”
KEENELAND JANUARY DAY 2
VESTREY LADY, a Canadian stakes winner owned by Harlequin Ranches and sold by Bernard McCormack's Cara Bloodstock topped Day 2 of the Keeneland January sale yestereday. The buyer was Nobuo Tsunoda.
DR. BRIAN VAN AREM is listed as the buyer of SILK APPEAL, a 16yo mare by Valid Apeal and a stakes producer of one stakes winner and two stakes placed horses. Dr. Van Arem paid $70,000 for the mare who is in foal to SPEIGHTSTOWN.
Also, Dr. Van Arem bought DANZIG COLORS, a daughter of Danzig-Winning Colors (Kentucky Derby winner), a Japanese winner who has had four foals of racing age, three unraced one placed. She is in foal to Aldebaran and cost $28,000.
WINDWAYS FARM LIMITED paid $25,000 for a Kentucky bred filly by FLOWER ALLEY out of Canadian champion 2yo filly BRUSQUE.
"DR.RUTH" BARBOUR paid $15,000 for I AM SOLID GOLD, a 5yo Thunder Gulch mare and a half sister to Canadian stakes winner Certainly Classic. The mare is in foal to hot young sire LION HEART.
BUTTIGIEG TRAINING CENTRE paid $20,000 for the mare GOLDEN PIKE,a 6yo Pikepass mare in foal to Yankee Gentleman and carrying a full sibling to multiple stakes winner GOLDEN YANK.
DAVE COTEY'S DOMINION BLOODSTOCK paid $2,000 for a 2yo filly by Yes It's True out of Woodbine runner MARISA GO; $7,000 for an ARCH filly out of SCREEN; Cotey also paid $12,000 for a CHESTNUT FILLY by FUSAICHI PEGASUS out of Silver Lace.
HORSE-RACES.NET visits LANE'S END
(WANDO, Canadian Triple Crown winner)
Lovely pictorial with notes at www.horse-races.net from recent farm tours in Kentucky: first up, LANE'S END.
A.P. INDY and his jock Eddie Delahoussaye, left
CURLIN, the new kid
Injured on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride last month
FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 14, 2009
Hill ’n’ Dale Farms said the multiple graded stakes-winning filly Indyanne was euthanized after breaking an ankle during a race last month. A statement from the farm said veterinarians determined it would have been inhumane to continue treatment.
The filly fractured a sesamoid in her left front ankle while leading down the stretch of the Grade I La Brea Stakes on Dec. 27 at Santa Anita Park. Indyanne won her first four starts by a combined 32 ½ lengths and earned $500,000 in her career.
CREASE INFRACTION WINS, then CLAIMED!
CREASE INFRACTION, 11-years-old this year and a classy old-timer who was traded about in Ontario last year - most recently claimed by Fort Erie's Anthony Adamo, was claimed away from Adammo yesterday following a win for $7,500 at PENN NATIONAL.
The Friendly Lover gelding, bred by Jim Sabiston, led all the way at 5 1/2 furlongs and was 5 to 1.
The new owner of the gelding is STEPHANIE BEATTIE and the trainer is Don Brown Jr.
BRUNO SCHICKEDANZ'S Ontario bred GOLD CHRYSANTHEMUM (Solomon's Decree) won a $5,000 claiming race at BEULAH PARK yesterday by 6 3/4 lengths at 5 to 1.
Later on the Beulah card, WIN AGAIN won for Billy Hays for $7,500 claiming by 1/2 a length at 5 furlongs. The Awesome Again- Valid Approval gelding is 7-years-old.
BLOGGERS VS. JOURNALISTS
MARYJEAN WALL writes about this ongoing topic (essentially fueled by the latest FINAL TURN in BLOOD-HORSE by Claire Novak):
New York Racing Association “gets it” and has embraced the blogs, strategically placing advertising on some selected sites. But this is only a start. The tracks and other racing executives could – and should – pay greater attention to the blogosphere, becoming familiar with the better sites and bringing them into the mainstream fold.
To read MaryJean Wall's comments click here:
FEATURE ON OWNER MICHAEL GILL
DAILY RACING FORM'S JOE DIVIVO did a story on owner Michael Gill - a claiming owner, Ecliipse Award winner, whose claim to fame recently was racing classy stakes winner MIGHTY BEAU for $4,000 claiming at Penn National in November off a long layoff. The old timer broke down and was destroyed.
There is no mention of this incident in the story...