Elwood ‘Bud’ Johnston, thoroughbred breeder and owner, dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) Elwood ”Bud” Johnston, who bred and raced Eclipse Award-winning Acclamation, has died. He was 77.

He died in his sleep Tuesday, a day before his 78th birthday, the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association said Wednesday. He had attended morning workouts at Santa Anita as recently as last week.

Acclamation won 11 of 30 career starts and earned $1,958,048 before retiring in 2012 as Johnston’s all-time leading money winner. The horse’s best year was 2011, when he won five consecutive graded stakes, including the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar under trainer Don Warren. Acclamation missed the Breeders’ Cup that year because of injury, but won the Eclipse as champion older male.

Johnston and wife Judy took over management of his father’s Old English Rancho in Ontario, California, in 1957. They later sold the property and relocated the farm to Sanger, California, near Fresno, in 1997.

The farm was named California’s leading breeder 13 times. Old English Rancho has bred over 200 stakes winners and been home to such prominent stallions as Acclamation, Unusual Heat, Big Bad Leroybrown and Surf Cat.

Johnston was a director of the CTBA for 25 years and once served as president.

Besides his wife of 58 years, Johnston is survived by two daughters.

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