Mary Kay Johnson Dies at 79; Co-owner of Volponi

Mary Kay Johnson, wife of Hall of Fame trainer Phil "P.G." Johnson and a member of the family-owned Amherst Stable, which raced Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Volponi in partnership, died Tuesday night at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, N.Y., of an apparent heart attack.

Johnson, 79, fell on Monday and was admitted to Mercy Hospital in
Rockville Centre, N.Y. She was transferred to St. Francis for additional tests.

Phil and Mary Kay Johnson were married 59 years, and have two daughters: Kathy and Karen. Karen is a writer for Daily Racing Form. The family runs horses under the name Amherst Stable, named for the Rockville Centre street on which Phil and Mary Kay lived.

Amherst raced many good horses such as Sweet Velocity and Belle Cherie, but the family hit the mother lode when their homebred Volponi jumped up to win the Breeders' Cup Classic at Arlington Park in 2002 at odds of better than 43-1.

Volponi (Cryptoclearance--Prom Knight, by Sir Harry Lewis) won seven of 31 starts and earned $3,187,232. He is standing his first season at stud this year at Hopewell Farm near Midway, Ky.

Funeral services will be private. The family requests any memorial gifts be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, 267-07 76th Ave., New Hyde Park, N.Y. 11042. Donations may also be made on-line at