The Monticello Goshen Chapter of the US Harness Writers will honour Steve Jones with its prestigious Excelsior Award when the chapter holds its 52nd annual Awards Banquet at Monticello Casino & Raceway on Sunday, October 24. Jones’ Cameo Hill Farms has bred and raised some of the top trotters and pacers, not only in New York State, but in the entire United States.
Jones is the owner of Cameo Hills Farm, a 225-acre standardbred breeding farm in Montgomery, New York. Cameo Hills Farm was built in 1982 and it is now one of the premier farms in the nation.
There have been many stakes winners bred at Cameo Hill Farms in the past three years. The farm has bred the winners of four $1-million races – the Hambletonian, the Canadian Trotting Classic, the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace. Add to them the winners of the Kentucky Futurity, the Little Brown Jug, the Valley Victory, two Breeders Crowns, the Sweetheart, the Battle Of Brandywine, the Countess Adios, the Simcoe, and include the elimination winners in the Woodrow Wilson and Adios.
Cameo Hill Farms-bred and raised horses also include the $2.5 million winner and 2009 US Pacer of the Year Well Said; the $2-million winner Goalie Jeff; $1.2 million earner Housethatruthbuilt; the Sweetheart Pace winner Pedigree Snob, and the incomparable Deweycheatumnhowe, the 2008 Hambletonian winner and 2008 US Trotter of The Year.
Jones’ New York-breds have also excelled. Stalwarts like Shaq Is Back, Neal, Automatic Slims, Im Gorgeous, Whiskey Pete, and Connie helped make 10 of Cameo Hills' New York-breds earn over $586,000 in purses.
“We have a small operation as far as farms go, but in 2009 the Cameo Hills consignment in Lexington, Ky. averaged $84,200, which made us the highest average consignor at any sale that year,” Jones said. “We topped the pacing market at Harrisburg selling the Rocknroll Hanover full sister to Well Said for $300,000.”
“And in New York, we sold the highest priced Bettors Delight (Stuck Up, for $150,000) and the highest priced Credit Winner (Neal, for $150,000). “During 2009, racehorses bred by Cameo Hills earned $3.4 million.”
Born in Bucyrus, Ohio, the younger son of the great farm manager and Hall of Famer Hal Jones, young Steve was raised around standardbreds. His dad managed Pickwick Farms in Bucyrus for 20 years before moving on in the same capacity to Hanover Shoe Farms and then to Lana Lobell Farms in New Jersey. So young, Steve actually grew up in all the aforementioned areas surrounded by stallions, mares and foals. During his college days he began working with the colts at Lana Lobell.
Jones was a 1982 graduate of Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in animal husbandry. And it was there that he met his future wife, Kathy, as both were studying animal husbandry. Though he had excelled in basketball, his heart was always in harness racing.
A move to Orange County, New York was necessitated when the family purchased Cameo Hills Farm in Montgomery in the early 1980s. That move catapulted Jones heavily into the breeding industry in New York State. Through the years, Jones has become an integral part of the harness racing fabric, not only in the state of New York, but in the entire standardbred industry.
Besides being a longtime member and current vice president of the Board of Directors at Historic Track in Goshen, New York, he also serves as the vice president of the Grand Circuit. For what he has already accomplished, there’s little wonder why the local scribes are honouring Jones for his contributions to the sport of harness racing, and especially to the breeding industry.
Steve and Kathy Jones live in Montgomery with their sons Tyler and Jake.