joe m. thomson
Joe Thomson was born on March 3, 1944 and grew up in Cynthiana, Kentucky, where he participated in 4-H and showed dairy cattle. He worked as an usher at Keeneland Racecourse while attending college at Transylvania University, where he earned a degree in business administration and economics. He served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant.
Thomson and his wife, JoAnn, started Winbak Farm in 1991. Headquartered on nearly 3,000 acres in Chesapeake City, Maryland, Winbak Farm has been ranked the leading breeder over twenty times in three different states or provinces and was USHWA Breeder of the Year three times in a single decade.
Winbak stands stallions in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. The farm has bred consecutive Horse of the Year Award winners in pacing colt No Pan Intended p,3,1:50.3 ($1,581,735) - the last pacer to win the Triple Crown - in 2003, and in 2004 Hall of Fame pacing filly Rainbow Blue p,3,1:49.2s ($1,428,934), one of only three filly pacers to be named Horse of the Year. Winbak’s trotting colt Muscle Hill 3,1:50.1 ($3,273,342) would also claim the Horse of the Year title in 2009. Winbak bred two Hambletonian winning trotters - Vivid Photo 4,1:50.2z ($3,273,387) in 2005 and Muscle Hill in 2009, and two Little Brown Jug winners - Hall of Famer Bettor’s Delight p,3,1:49.4 ($2,581,461) in 2001 and No Pan Intended in 2003.
Winbak Farm is also the breeder of 2003 Provincial Cup and 2005 American-National winner Escape The Wind p,5,1:48.3s ($1,913,219); 2011 Meadowlands Pace, Battle of the Brandywine and Messenger Stakes winner and Dan Patch Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year Roll With Joe p,3,1:48.2 ($1,805,102); and 2012 Ben Franklin and 2011 Breeders Crown and Cane Pace winner, world champion Betterthancheddar p,4,1:48f ($1,634,314), the 2012 O’Brien Older Pacing Horse of the Year.
For the 2009 racing season, Winbak Farm was the leading breeder of two- and three-year-olds, the only time in history that Hanover Shoe Farms has finished second in that category. Since 1999 Winbak has sent over 5,000 yearlings to public auction. Over that time frame, horses bred and sold by the Thomsons have won nearly 28,000 races and over $262 million in purses. A perennial large consignor at the major fall auctions, Winbak sells around 150 yearlings annually at both Lexington and Harrisburg. The farm also markets many of their Ontario-bred colts and fillies at the Forest City Yearling Sale in London.
As the current president of the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania, Joe Thomson lends much of his energy and expertise to educating legislators responsible for that state’s Race Horse Development Fund. Thomson makes it a point to engage with political leaders to ensure that they are aware of the benefits harness racing provides to agriculture and open space, and how people from a variety of demographics and industries rely on racing for their income.
Thomson is a partner in The Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. He has served as the director of the Lexington Trots Breeders Association, and is a director of the Hambletonian Society and trustee emeritus of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. He is a director of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Association, and a former director of the Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association and Maryland Cloverleaf Owners Association.
Among the many awards bestowed on him, Thomson was selected as a Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree in 2009 and received the Stanley F. Bergstein Proximity Achievement Award from the United States Harness Writers Association in 2013. In addition, Thomson received the Maryland World Trade Center Institute International Leadership Award in 2012.
Joe Thomson lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He has three children, Bradley, Ashlee and Kimberly (the “bak” in Winbak) and four grandchildren.