Bertram and Diana Firestone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bertram R. Firestone (born August 18, 1931) 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 who were voted the 1980 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner[1] and in 1982 were inducted in the Virginia Thoroughbred Association Hall of Fame.[2] They are former owners of Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park in Florida.[3]

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.[4] Her maternal grandfather, Colonel Thomas Melville Dill, was a prominent Bermudian soldier, lawyer, and politician.

Thoroughbred racing[edit]

The Firestones raced horses in the United States and in Europe. Bertram Firestone bought Catoctin Stud in Waterford, Virginia in 1973 and in 1991 he and Diana acquired Newstead Farm. For racing in Europe, they operated the 1,200 acre Gilltown Stud in Kilcullen, County Kildare, Ireland near the famous Curragh which they sold in 1989 to the Aga Khan IV for $14.2 million.

Among their many successes in Thoroughbred racing, in 1980, the Firestone's Hall of Fame inductee Genuine Risk[5] became only the second filly to ever win the Kentucky Derby,[6] 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 1982 they won the Japan Cup with Half Iced.


  1. ^ "Eclipse Awards at the TRA". Archived from the original on 2012-01-22. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  2. ^ Virginia Thoroughbred Association Archived 2012-02-20 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Bert and Diana Firestone at the NTRA Archived September 26, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Barrons
  5. ^ National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Archived June 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ The Palm Beach Post - September 4, 1981