02/23/2017 1:30PM

Longtime trainer Penney dies at 82


Jim Penney, one of the all-time leading trainers in Washington, died Wednesday at his home in Edgewood, Wash. Penney, 82, was part of the Washington Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2003.

He won the Longacres Mile a record five times. His last win in the Mile was with Flamethrowintexan in 2006. His other Mile winners were Sabertooth, Edneator, Theologist, and Silver Mallet.

Penney was a regular visitor to Hastings. He won the British Columbia Derby with Irish Bear in 1987. Flamethrowintexan won the 2004 B.C. Derby while racing for Penney’s daughter and assistant trainer, Kay Cooper.

At Emerald Downs, Penney is the second-leading trainer in career wins (662), stakes wins (50), and earnings ($8,831,653). In a career that began in 1957, Penney won 2,154 races and close to $20 million in purses. He was the leading trainer at Yakima Meadows a record 17 times.

According to Cooper, he died peacefully at home.

“He had congestive heart failure for a while, but he was enjoying life until the end,” she said. “His passions were racing, family, and sports.”

Cooper is married to former jockey Bryson Cooper, who won the 1977 Mile for Penney aboard Theologist.

“He left no stone unturned,” said Bryson Cooper. “He was on top of every little problem, knew everything about horses. Jim was involved with the sport and cared about it, serving as president of the HBPA, and was respected by his peers.”

Penney was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, and is survived by daughters Kay Cooper and Jill Fabulich.

Cooper, who will continue to train the barn’s horses, said no decision has been made about a memorial service.