allen and connie skolnick
Allen (b.1928) and Connie (b.1930) Skolnick were active players and supporters in the harness racing industry for over 30 years. Sole and percentage owners of many racehorses, the couple built their Southwind Farms into one of the most beautiful and successful Standardbred breeding facilities in the world. Always active buyers and sellers at the most prestigious Standardbred sales, the Skolnicks attended Grand Circuit races throughout the U.S. and Canada. While well known throughout the Standardbred industry, the Skolnicks preferred to be quiet participants. Allen Skolnick’s motto was “to fly under the radar but always be present.”
The Skolnicks founded Southwind Farms in 1978 in Otego, New York with the purchase of three yearlings, one of which being Royce p,4,1:53.4 ($437,177), who turned out to be a multiple stakes and Dan Patch Award winner. The other purchases were fillies, the foundation of the Skolnicks’ broodmare band. Stakes winners campaigned by the Skolnicks in the 1980s included Andrel p,3,1:53 ($392,560), Discotheque p,3,1:52.4 ($346,075), Cosmic King p,4,1:53.3 ($257,783) and Radiant Ruler p,2,1:54.4 ($199,666).
With the acquisition of additional fillies, the Skolnicks chose to concentrate on the breeding aspect of the business. Because of the increasing size of Southwinds’ broodmare band and the dynamics of the Standardbred industry, the Skolnicks moved their operations to New Jersey, where a 235-acre former dairy farm was purchased and a state of the art breeding facility was built in 1986. Southwind Farms of New Jersey became one of the most prestigious Standardbred breeding operations in the world and has been home to some of the sport’s most influential stallions, including the game-changing Hall of Famers Valley Victory, Artsplace and Muscle Hill.
After standing stallions for others, the Skolnicks decided to branch out on their own and purchase racing prospects, with the hope of turning them into good stallions. An interest in Chocolatier 3,1:53 ($1,324,800) was purchased in 2006, followed by purchases of interests in Muscle Hill 3,1:50.1 ($3,273,342) in 2008, Sportswriter p,3,1:48.3s ($1,566,460) in 2010 and Chapter Seven 4,1:50.1 ($1,954,966) in 2011.
The Skolnicks achieved their lifelong goal of owning a Hambletonian winner when Muscle Hill set a stakes record 1:50.1 while winning the 2009 edition of that classic race. Other important victories for the couple included a 1998 Breeders Crown with their filly Juliet’s Fate p,3,1:50.1 ($682,094), World Trotting Derby with Chocolatier (2006), North America Cup with Sportswriter (2010) and two Breeders Crowns with Chapter Seven (2011, 2012).
Southwind Farms has produced a long list of superlative performers, including world champion Southwind Tempo p,6,1:48.2 ($2,396,362), North America Cup winner Total Truth p,4,1:48.3 ($2,022,433), Dan Patch Award winner and world champion Southwind Frank 3,1:52.1 ($1,950,887), Meadowlands Pace winner Southwind Lynx p,3,1:48.3 ($1,763,389), Mystical Maddy p,4,1:50 ($1,436,325), Hula’s Z Tam p,6,1:52.2h ($1,076,610), Hambletonian Oaks winner Southwind Allaire 3,1:53.4 ($733,534) and Breeders Crown winner and 2019 Hall of Fame inductee Southwind Serena 3,1:55.2 ($385,088), the dam of world champion Mission Brief 3,1:50.2f ($1,599,587) and Tactical Landing 3,1:50.2 ($812,300).
Allen and Connie Skolnick both passed away in 2013.
Southwind Farms continues under the direction of Allen and Connie’s son, Barry, and has been three times voted New Jersey Breeder of the Year by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. In addition to standing dominant trotting stallion Muscle Hill, Southwind recently added the exciting young prospect Walner 3,1:50.2 ($567,652) to its stallion roster. Son Mitchel operates Standardbred nursery Bluestone Farm in Hopewell, New Jersey.