09/05/2009 12:00AM

Roy Johnson, trainer, dies at 82


Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Roy Johnson died from cancer in Calgary, Alberta, on Tuesday. He was 82.

In 1965 Johnson became the first trainer to win the Queen's Plate with a horse that was based in Western Canada, Whistling Sea. Johnson proved his win in the Plate was no fluke when he won it again in 1968 with Merger.

Johnson began his career as a jockey, riding in Western Canada, Washington and California before being forced to retire due to an injury in 1950. As a trainer he won the Canadian and Alberta Derby as well as derbies in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He began his training career in Alberta, and in 1958 he moved to Ontario where he was based until he returned to Western Canada in 1979. He retired in 1989 and was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.

Johnson's brother Harold is a trainer at Hastings and was inducted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2003. He remembered times when he, Roy and another brother, Eddie, rode together as jockeys.

"A couple of times we ran one-two-three," said Harold Johnson. "The local papers made a big deal of it."

Roy Johnson is survived by his wife, Florence, and a son, Terry. A memorial service will be held at Ramsey Welcome Centre at 1140 8th Street S.E., Calgary, on Sept. 14 at 2 p.m.