Harry "Hub" Hubbard Johnson Jr., a longtime horseman, died the afternoon of March 28 in Central Kentucky.
A native of Lubbock, Texas, Johnson turned 27 on March 26. He formerly worked as a foreman for trainer Steve Asmussen's barn at Oaklawn Park and was scheduled to start working for trainer Charlie LoPresti March 28.
A champion clay shooter as a teenager, Johnson attended the University of Kentucky before entering the horse industry.
"He walked away from clay shooting to follow his path in racing," said Johnson's mother, Kirsten Johnson, who is the owner of the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center in Versailles, Ky. "He was raised in the horse business; the Thoroughbred was his passion and his love. There's nothing that made him happier than getting up at 4:30 a.m. and going to the barn."
There will be a public life celebration service honoring Johnson at Castle Post in Versailles, Ky., March 31, from 5-8 p.m. A private family service will take place in California at a later date.
Following is a remembrance of Johnson that was written by his best friend, Ben Slome:
"To try and sum up a life such as Harry Hubbard Johnson's, 'Hub, like a hub cap,' to put it in his terms, in only a few sentences would in itself be a tragedy.
"Hub's lust for life and for those around him was, in simple terms, awe-inspiring. He had a wonderful soul and enthusiasm for life that made him loved, cherished, and celebrated by all who knew him.
"Hub lived for and loved animals of all kinds. Since he could walk, the path he paved for himself was about horses and the racetrack. He took pride in his work and his innate ability in understanding the majestic animals he and his family had built their lives around. His passion for animals and their well-being was only rivaled by his steadfast dedication for his friends and family. There was not a single thing Hub would not do for those around him, and he was in return cherished for his love and support.
"Hub's reaches were not just in the horse world, but also the world of sporting clay shooting. Hub was a world champion by the age of 19; pride and arrogance, however, was not the result of such success, as it has been with so many champions of his caliber. Hub's success was followed by a desire to give back, and help others achieve the same success he had.
"He lived life on his own terms, stopping at nothing and for nothing. His drive, presence, and determination was a tangible force recognizable whenever you were next to him. I speak for his friends and family: You will be missed and your place never filled or forgotten. God bless you Hub, and rest in peace.
Hub leaves behind a mother, Kirsten Johnson and her life partner John Dowdell; father Harry Hubbard Johnson III and Shawn Johnson, stepmother; sister Holli Johnson; aunt and uncle Kirk and Letti Cunningham; uncle Kevin Cunningham; grandparents Patrick and Beverly Cunningham; uncles and aunts Lee and Barb Johnson, Kelly and Johnny Andreas, Kim Johnson; paternal grandparents Sandra and Floyd Ward, and countless friends from so many worlds who loved and cherished him."