05/26/2004 12:00AM

Mary Kay Johnson dies


Mary Kay Johnson, wife of Hall of Fame trainer Phil Johnson and part of the family-run Amherst Stable, which campaigned 2002 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi, died Tuesday night in a New York hospital, apparently of a heart attack. She was 79.

Johnson fell in her home Tuesday afternoon and was admitted to Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre, N.Y., where she was administered several stitches to close a wound to her head. While undergoing tests, Johnson was found to have a heart condition that required angioplasty. She was transferred to St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, N.Y., where she was to have undergone the procedure on Wednesday morning.

Mary Kay and Phil Johnson were married for 59 years and had two daughters, Kathy and Karen, a reporter for Daily Racing Form. The entire family comprised Amherst Stable, which campaigned stakes winners Be Mine Tonight, Belle Nuit, Match the Hatch, Sweet Velocity, and Volponi.

As per Mary Kay Johnson's wishes, the funeral services will be private.

The family requested that any memorial gifts be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, 267-07 76th Ave, New Hyde Park, N.Y., 11042. Donations may also be made online at www.rmhlongisland.org.