Texas horseman E.C. Johnston Jr., who owned Affirmed’s dam, Won’t Tell You, during the latter part of her broodmare career, died March 28 in Longview, Texas. Born in Houston, Johnston suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He would have turned 86 April 10.
Johnston bought Won’t Tell You when Affirmed was racing as a 2-year-old in 1977. At year’s end, Won’t Tell You achieved status as a champion producer after Affirmed was honored with an Eclipse Award for breeder/owner Louis Wolfson. As a 3-year-old, Affirmed became the 11th and last Triple Crown winner. He retired at 4 after a second consecutive Horse of the Year season as the world’s leading money earner.
Won’t Tell You’s best offspring for Johnston was Won’t She Tell. Campaigned by Johnston, Won’t She Tell won the Blush With Pride Stakes and was twice stakes-placed. As a broodmare, she produced three stakes winners, including graded winner Drilling for Oil and Dr. Caton.
Won’t Tell You also produced grade I stakes-placed Silent Fox, a full brother to Affirmed, for Johnston. Following her death, Won’t Tell You was buried at Johnston’s Rafter J Ranch near Longview.
Johnston also bred stakes winners Silky Feather and Gold Nugget, who was voted 2000 Texas’ Horse of the Year. As an owner, he campaigned other stakes winners Bring the Money and Houdini.
Edgar Clinton Johnston Jr. was a third-generation oilman whose business interests extended to banking and other mineral exploration endeavors in Texas and several surrounding states. He served as president of the American Quarter Horse Association.
Johnston was in the Coast Guard during World War II. His survivors include his wife of 65 years, Helen, and daughters Margaret and Decie.