Harrisburg, PA --- John Campbell, the Hall of Fame horseman and all-time leading moneywinning driver, will be joined by Joe Thomson, squire of Winbak Farms, which has bred three recent Harness Horses of the Year, as finalists for this year’s Stan Bergstein–Proximity Award, second only in harness racing prestige to election to the Hall of Fame, in a preliminary round voting of the directors of the U.S. Harness Writers’ Association (USHWA), whose entire membership will now decide this year’s winner, shortly.
The Proximity Award has been given by the Harness Writers since 1952 -- thus making this year’s pick in the 60th anniversary year -- to “an individual, group, or organization for outstanding contributions of the harness racing industry.” This year USHWA added the name of the recently deceased Stan Bergstein, the only double Hall of Famer and an immeasurable contributor to the sulky sport over the last 50 years, to the name of the most prestigious award for which it is the sole voter.
John Campbell, a native of central Ontario, took harness racing by storm when he set up headquarters at the wildly successful New Jersey track The Meadowlands early in its legendary lifetime, becoming the “in-demand” driver for horses of all caliber, especially top stakes stock. His unmatched battery of victories in the sport’s top events has enabled him to drive the winners of more than $280 million, lifetime, in excess of 50 percent better than his closest rival,Ron Pierce.
And Campbell, like Bergstein, has served the sport immensely in relations with the media and fans, being thoughtful and articulate in his interviews, and freely giving of his time to participate in a host of activities or on boards, of most any variety, for the good of the sport.
Joe Thomson received his early horse education in his native Kentucky, then established White Horse Farms when his business career took him to the mid-Atlantic area. After White Horse, in 1991, he established Winbak Farms, which is based in Maryland but has involvement in virtually all of the major Standardbred racing states. Winbak has bred three of the last 10 Harness Horses of the Year -- No Pan Intended, Rainbow Blue, and Muscle Hill -- and is second only to the long-established Hanover Shoe Farms in terms of annual money production of their offspring. Thomson also plays a leadership role in several aspects of the sport, at The Red Mile, The Winbak Pace at Delaware and other of the sport’s leading organizations.
The winner of the Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award will be announced during the period around the Christmas–New Year holidays, along with all of the major yearend award winners for the past racing season. The winner will receive his trophy at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held Sunday evening, Mar. 3, 2013 at the Westin Resort Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, in conjunction with the upcoming Harness Racing Congress and annual USHWA meetings.