For most of the last 13 years, a few minutes before post time at New York Racing Association tracks, you could invariably find Bruce Johnstone lounging against the rail in the winner’s circle. Looking tanned regardless of the season, he exuded calmness and relaxation, an appearance that belied an alertness to everything from a balky horse at the starting gate to the condition of the racing surface.
“I used to tease him and say he was ‘the fixer,’” said Martin Panza, senior vice president, racing operations at NYRA. “If there was a problem, he’d go see what it was and we’d figure out the best way to resolve it.”
Johnstone died on February 6 following several years of treatment for cancer. He was 76.
“He was such a big, strong guy, and he fought this for so long,” said consignor and pinhooker Cary Frommer. “It’s amazing that he was able to fight hideous disease for so long.”
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