By John Manzi
MONTICELLO November 24, 2006 I read with interest last Friday’s Business and Professional Women (BPW) supplement in the Democrat, and just to keep with that theme I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon with a BPW nominee of my own.
Jean Brown, the administrative vice president of Blue Chip Farms, the finest horse breeding farm in New York State, is certainly an accomplished business professional woman. Though Jean is not a “local” resident, she does, however, live just below the mountains in Wallkill. And she is deeply involved in a profession that has long been part of the fabric of Sullivan County harness racing.
I thought I’d like to share the talents of this extraordinary executive.
For Jean Brown a career in anything but harness racing would have never been considered. And that’s not hard to fathom. After all, Jean is the daughter of harness racing Hall of Fame horseman, William S. (Bill) Brown. The fact that she was raised on both Castleton Farms in Lexington, Ky. and Blue Chip Farms in Wallkill only adds to the equation.
As the administrative vice president of the magnificent horse farm in Wallkill, Jean is mainly responsible for stallion and mare management, on farm management, equine sales program and customer service. And she does her profession proud.
“I live vicariously though the Blue Chip Farms patrons,” she said. “When something we raise does well we’re all happy. It’s like one large family.”
Grace Jean Brown was born in Lexington, Ky. where her dad Bill was the farm manager. And when her dad took the same position at Blue Chip Farms in the early 1970s, Jean continued to enjoy being around her beloved standardbreds.
However, quality education was also very important to the Browns and her family was certainly proud when in 1980, Jean was named valedictorian of her class at Valley Central High School in Montgomery.
Upon graduation it never occurred to Jean that she wouldn’t pursue a higher education and she matriculated at Beloit College in Wisconsin and graduated with a degree in geology.
“Going to school there was good for me because when I needed a harness racing fix I would just cross the border into South Beloit, Illinois and visit Del Insko, whose training farm was just a few miles from my college campus,” she said. “And after all these years, Del still trains his horses there.”
Upon receiving her diploma from Beloit College, Jean was off to Yale University in New Haven, Conn., where she earned a graduate degree.
Out in the real world, Jean took a position with the United States Trotting Association in Columbus, Ohio working in the information and research department. When master salesman Phil Tully asked her to join his Garden States Sales Company, Jean accepted and moved on to join Phil’s son Chris, in researching pedigrees for the standardbred sales catalogues.
However, in 1990 Jean got a chance to join her dad at Blue Chip Farms. She accepted an administrative position there and has never looked back.
Now as administrative vice president of the world class breeding farm she is especially proud of the sales of the farm stallion’s progeny this year at the recently concluded Lexington Selected Sale.
“Our yearlings averaged the highest bids of any consignor,” she said proudly.
Jean also serves on boards including the Harness Horse Breeders of New York and the Blue Ribbon Breeding Panel of the United States Trotting Association.
And for all her years of dedicated service to harness racing, especially in New York State, the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) proudly honored her with its prestigious Excelsior Award at the Chapter’s annual awards banquet, which was held on October 29 at Kutshers Country Club in Monticello.