Successful Equestrian Woman Firestone Dies at 91
Lifetime horseback driving and profitable proprietor/breeder Diana Melville Johnson Firestone died on February 12 at her dwelling in West Palm Seashore, Fla., her household confirmed on February 14. She was 91 years outdated.
The super loss to the Thoroughbred racing group, first reported by the Thoroughbred Every day Information, comes a yr and a half after the lack of her husband, Bertram Robert Firestone, in July 2021.
Born in New Brunswick, NJ in 1932, Firestone was the daughter of John Seward Johnson, govt director and director of Johnson & Johnson, and Ruth Dill Johnson of Bermuda. She was the granddaughter of Robert Wooden Johnson, the founding father of Johnson & Johnson.
Firestone, together with her siblings Mary Lea, Elaine, and Seward Jr. He realized to experience horses in England, and horseback driving quickly turned his past love. Throughout his faculty days on the Madeira Faculty, he rode hunters, jumpers, and fox-hunting throughout the northern panorama of Virginia. After graduating from Bennett Junior School, Firestone had a well-known equestrian profession representing the US at world-class horse races and reveals.
She married first to Richard G. Stokes, then to Bert Firestone in 1973. Collectively, Bert and Diana bought a 1,400-acre farm in Virginia that they named Catoctin after a creek operating by means of the property. They might additionally later personal Large Sink Farm close to Lexington.
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Not solely did he experience horses, he was instrumental in making a extremely profitable Thoroughbred breeding operation, elevating and racing seven Eclipse Award winners, together with Sincere Pleasure (1975 champion 2-year-old colt), What a Summer season (1977 champion sprinter). and April Run (1982 champion turf mare). Working in Firestone’s acquainted inexperienced and white silks, Real Danger gained the 1980 Kentucky Derby (G1), changing into the second filly to win the premier American traditional and stays the one filly on document to win or participate in all three of the Triple Crown races. . Authentic Danger was honored because the champion 3-year-old filly of the yr and Firestones was honored as Excellent Proprietor.
Diana and Bert Firestone
All through 2016, Firestones campaigned for 51 ranked/group guess winners, together with 17 rank/group 1 winners and 5 champions. Amongst its excellent runners was Theatrical, a promising younger coach and future Corridor of Fame-named Invoice Mott, a six-time #1 winner and 1987 Eclipse champion turf horse.
As breeders, Firestones have produced 11 ranked/group winners since 1991, together with 9 time tier guess winners and 4 occasions #1 winner Paradise Creek. Among the many finest runners they’ve skilled are #1 winner Shinko Beautiful, #1 #1 winner Chief Honcho, and four-time #1 winner Winchester.
Diana Firestone’s immense love and dedication to equestrian sports activities was acknowledged by the American Horse Reveals Affiliation with the Walter B. Devereux Trophy, which honors those that exemplify the best of excellent sportsmanship by means of dedication, dedication and repair.
They had been ardent supporters of equine welfare on many fronts, together with founding committee members of Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Middle.
“As early members, Bert and Diana Firestone had been instrumental in serving to to advertise the Virginia-Maryland School of Veterinary Drugs at Virginia Tech,” stated Professor Emeritus G. Frederick Fregin, who served as director for the Middle’s high 20. in 2021. try and buy new MRI expertise.”
Firestone handed on his love for horses and farm life to his youngsters. His daughter, Alison Robitaille, continues her legacy as a extremely aggressive Grand Prix driver. Firestone’s household additionally remembered being passionate in regards to the land the place he grew up, as he owned farms in Virginia, Florida, and Eire, together with Cabin Run, Shenstone, Catoctin, Gilltown, and Newstead. He at all times improved each farm he touched.
“When he wasn’t with horses or household, he was watering bushes or tending the gardens, at all times fortunately chasing after a canine or three,” the household wrote in his reminiscence.
Firestone as soon as stated: “Aside from my household, horses had been crucial factor in my life.”
They’ve 4 youngsters, Lorna Stokes, Christopher Stokes, Cricket MacDonald and Alison Robitaille; three stepson, Matthew Firestone, Ted Firestone and Greg Firestone; and 16 grandchildren.
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