03/28/2008 11:00PM

Owner Johnson dies at age 77


Joe Johnson, a Thoroughbred owner and developer of the Kentucky Training Center, died Friday night in Bal Harbour, Fla., after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Johnson was 77.

During his long involvement in racing, Johnson owned a number of successful runners by himself or in partnership, including 1978 Canadian champion older horse Giboulee and Grade 2 winner Romeo, who finished second in the 1976 Travers. Johnson also owned Mickey McGuire, a dual stakes winner and runner-up in the 1970 Del Mar Derby and 1971 Strub Stakes, with Preston Madden.

Johnson was responsible for the syndication of two-time Canadian Horse of the Year L'Enjoleur.

Johnson was an owner and developer of the Kentucky Training Center on Paris Pike in Lexington, now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Keeneland Association and renamed the Thoroughbred Center.

Johnson was a graduate of Woodberry Forest School and the University of Virginia. He was preceded in death by his son, Joe. His survivors include daughters Deborah, Priscilla, Janet, and Margaret. Memorial arrangements had not been announced Saturday morning.