Johnie Jamison, one of the best trainers in the history of Sunland Park Racetrack, died Monday night.The 64-year-old horseman is survived by his wife Helen and their three childen."Johnie was without a doubt, one of the greatest trainers in the history of Southwest racing," horse owner and local entrepreneur Jim Paul said. "He was my partner with every horse I ever bought. We were a pretty good team. But I'll miss him most as a friend."
"Johnie is the type of person racing is all about," Stan Fulton, owner of Sunland Park and one of Jamison's owners, said from the Keeneland sale Tuesday. "He was stabled in the same barn at Sunland since 1959. Every day of his life was about the love of the horse."Fulton said since he began buying horses just a couple of years ago, Jamison had started 24 horses for him and had won 16 races.Jamison was born and raised in Raton, New Mexico. In the late 1960s, Jamison hit paydirt with Missile Pit, one of the fastest horses in Sunland Park history. The former Riley Allison Futurity winner was owned by Vera Lewis.Training for George Rancich, Jamison gained more prestige with a victory in the 1989 Riley Allison Futurity. He saddled Five R.'s Koolady to victory in the 5 furlong classic worth over $154,000.In the early 1990s Jamison began a highly productive association with Jim Paul and the Crew of Brew. The following years were filled with stakes wins. Jamison and Paul won their first stake race together with with All I Ask Of You. A one-eyed filly named Love Is Blind followed soonafter with enormous success coming from last to first to win the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Futurity over colts and geldings.Jamison's victories intensified in the late 1990s with the emergence of New Mexico stakes star and New Mexico Horse of the year -- Brew.The gutsy California-bred son of Falstaff won every major Thoroughbred stakes in the state including wins in the Sunland Park Handicap, Curribot Handicap, Albuquerque Handicap and
Ruidoso Thoroughbred Championship.Under Jamison's tutelage, Brew won an outstanding 18 times from 36 career starts. Crew Of Brew's star runner has earned $354,000.
The brilliance of Yulla Yulla was also a watershed achievement for Johnie Jamison. The extremely durable New-Mexico-bred mare was named Sunland Park Horse of the Meet for the 1999-2000 season. Yulla Yulla was nearly unstoppable under Jamison's direction winning 21 races from 27 starts. The incredible race mare earned nearly $450,000 on the race track.In 2002, Johnie Jamison was in the midst of another record setting year with his strongest stable ever. His latest stars included 3-year-old New Mexico-bred champ Star Smasher, Musical Chairs, Cherokee's Disco and Roll Hennessy Roll.For Fulton, Jamison won two stakes races in one day at Ruidoso Downs this summer. Cherokee's Disco stormed to a come from behind win in the Kachina Stakes and Roll Hennessy Roll took a victory in the Los Ninos Stakes. On Labor Day weekend, Roll Hennessy Roll collected another impressive win in the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Futurity. Memorial services are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Martin Funeral Home.