Presented annually on Hollywood Gold Cup day, the award is given to an individual who has served the sport with integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction. Retired Hall of Fame jockey Pincay will make the presentation.
Old English Rancho, which shifted the operation in 1997 to property Bud Johnston purchased years earlier in Sanger, has been leading California breeder 13 times.
“Bud Johnston has made an incredible contribution to racing and he has carried on his family’s tradition,” Pincay said.
Bud and Judy Johnston took over the day-to-day operation of Old English Rancho in 1957 and were the leading breeder in North America in 1971 and 1972. Pincay rode many of their winners.
“We have about 170 win pictures with Laffit,” claimed Johnston. "I tell him that must be a record for one owner. This is a very, very special honor. Laffit has been such a close friend and he is such a great rider.”
Old English Rancho was founded by Johnston’s late father, Ellwood B. Johnston, known as “The Pie Man” as he built a bakery business into a $5-million-a-year operation before selling in the late 1950s.
Ellwood B. Johnston’s involvement in racing dates to 1938 when he bought his first horse, $1,250 claimer English Harry, who became a marathoner and set five track records. He opened his Ontario ranch in 1948 with Old English the first stallion.
The Johnstons have bred more than 200 stakes winners including Iron Maiden, dam of 1957 Kentucky Derby winner Iron Liege and granddam of Californian-bred legend Swaps, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Horse of the Year in 1955.
As a director and president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association for 25 years, Bud Johnston was instrumental in the reduction of personal property tax on horses and also in improving incentives for California breeders.