Triple Crown Winning Trainer Johnie A. Goodman Passes Away
Triple Crown-winning trainer Johnie Goodman hoisting the 1981 All American Futurity trophy in the Ruidoso Downs winner's circle following Special Effort's historic win.

Bill Pitt / Ruidoso Downs
Triple Crown Winning Trainer Johnie A. Goodman Passes Away

by Greg Thompson,

HUNTSVILLE, TX–MAY 3, 2024–Legendary two-time All American Futurity(G1) winning trainer, Johnie A. Goodman passed away Friday night May 2, 2024, at his residence in Huntsville, Texas following a house fire. The 84-year-old former trainer succumbed to smoke inhalation according to his son Johnie.

Born in Victoria, Texas, the trainer of such classic winners as Special Effort, Native Gambler, and Higheasterjet, to name only a few, was a long-time resident of Huntsville, Texas, with his partner Pam, after he retired from training. 

Goodman runners were responsible for a run at the classic events in the early 1980's at Ruidoso Downs that remains one of the greatest pinnacles of training in Quarter Horse racing history. 

On August 24, 1980, Goodman-trained Native Gambler stormed home a winner in the All American Derby. A week later the trainer saddled Higheasterjet to victory, over the heavily favored Mighty Deck Three, in the All American Futurity(G1). Jockey Billy Hunt was in the irons for both victories.

In 1981, Goodman trained Special Effort won the Kansas Futurity (now the Ruidoso Futurity) in late May at Ruidoso Downs, and then followed up that win with a victory in the 1981 Rainbow Futurity(G1).

Goodman trained Higheasterjet was also victorious in the 1981 Rainbow Derby and the All American Derby. 

Labor Day 1981, Goodman became the only trainer to saddle a Ruidoso Triple Crown winner when Special Effort came home a four-length winner over a sloppy racetrack to complete the triple crown sweep in the All American Futurity.

Goodman would add to his run of classic victories at Ruidoso with a win in the 1982 Kansas Derby with Special Effort.  From 1980 thru 1982 the trainer captured eight of the track's classic races.

Special Effort remains the only two-year-old in Quarter Horse racing history to sweep all three major futurities at Ruidoso Downs.

Goodman also trained classic winner Naturally A Winner to victory in the1996 Ruidoso Derby(G2). 

AQHA records show that Goodman amassed career earnings of $9,674,969 in the decades he trained.

Funeral services will be held May 21 at the Grace Memorial Chapel, 8819 US Hwy 87 North in Victoria, Texas. Viewing is set for 10 to 11 a.m. (CDT) with services beginning at 11:00  a.m.  A graveside service will be followed by a reception.