Bertram and Diana Firestone of Upperville, Virginia, were recently honored with a Distinguished Service Award from Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center.

They were recognized for their leadership, support, and dedication to the center and were honored at recent ceremony at the center's Leesburg, Virginia, campus.

The Firestones, who own the 400-acre Newstead Farm, are founding members of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center Advisory Council and owners and breeders of Thoroughbred horses. 

“Their support of the center’s many programs helped establish a level of excellence in equine medicine recognized around the world,” said Peggy Steinman, who serves chair of the advisory council.

The Firestones are members of the President’s Circle within Virginia Tech’s Ut Prosim Society of donors, and have generously supported the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as well as the equine medical center.

The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is part of Virginia Tech's Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

“State-of-the-art programs in imaging, surgery, emergency care, and diagnostic expertise would not have been possible without their support,” added Steinman. “Bert and Diana have graciously introduced patrons in the horse industry to the center and utilized the center’s specialty services for their horses since the center opened 30 years ago. We are indebted to their vision of having the center as the best for providing equine medical care.”   

The Firestones’ dedication to horses and the horse industry has helped promote the best care for horses in the mid-Atlantic region. 

“We are truly honored to receive this award from the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center,” said Bert Firestone. “Whenever we have a problem with our horses, we take them there.”

The Firestones have raced horses in both the United States and Europe. Among their many successes in Thoroughbred racing was Genuine Risk, who in 1980, became only the second filly to ever win the Kentucky Derby. A true champion, she raced 15 times, won 10 races, and never finished worse than third. Genuine Risk was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1986.

They also bred and raced Secretariat’s son, General Assembly, who was a Kentucky Derby runner-up in 1979 and whose Saratoga track record time in winning the 1979 Travers Stakes still stands. 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. That same year, the Firestones were inducted into the Virginia Thoroughbred Association Hall of Fame.

More recently, the Firestones’ homebred Winchester, a son of Theatrical, was the second-leading Virginia-bred earner of 2010. At age six, Winchester won the 2011 Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, 24 years after his father won the same race.

At the recent ceremony, Dr. Cyril Clarke, dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, thanked the Firestones for their support. 

“The equine medical center has served the horse-owning community and the College of Veterinary Medicine in an exemplary fashion for the last 30 years. This record of accomplishment has been achieved through the committed support of Virginia Tech and advisory council members,” he said. “The high quality clinical service provided to Northern Virginia and Maryland, the research discoveries in translational medicine, and the many veterinarians who have been educated at the center serve as the legacies of this support.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony were Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands and former Tech president Charles Steger, a long-time supporter of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center.

The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center Distinguished Service Award has only been presented three times since its inception in 2007. It was established to recognize individuals who have demonstrated exemplary service and dedication to fulfilling the center’s mission and generously provided resources, leadership, and expertise to help the equine medical center attain the highest level of achievement in service, teaching, and research.

Previous winners Shelley Duke and Beverly “Peggy” Steinman were honored in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Both Thoroughbred owners and breeders, Duke is owner and manager of Rallywood Farm in Middleburg, while Steinman is chairperson of Steinman Enterprises, a group of companies headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

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