Larry Horning Jr. thinks of Harrison Johnson when he bandages his gouged left calf or feels the knifing pain in any of several places -- which is to say every day. Each step of his slightly strained gait bears the reminder of six Augusts past, the night a small plane seemed to overshoot the runway at Woodbridge Airport before Johnson tried to get it airborne again.
Horning still isn't sure what happened thereafter. He was lucky; Johnson, a fellow trainer, and George Griffith, a thoroughbred owner, were killed.
The fallen trainer was remembered yesterday at Laurel Race Course with the sixth Harrison Johnson Memorial Handicap. Johnson's widow, Lynette, sons Keith and Dorian, and mother, Janie McLaughlin, presented the winning trophy, and for the second straight year it found the grasp of Peter McGill, owner of Due North.
With only an allowance victory in 11 starts since last year's Johnson Memorial, Due North largely was passed over yesterday at 16-1 odds even though he led his eight rivals in total earnings. A gray 9-year-old, he rendered thoughts of his demise premature, however, with a late-gaining, neck-length win over Baldski's Choice and Lance to take the top share of $45,000. His 18th triumph in race No. 102 advanced his earnings to $836,878.
Katy Voss hadn't named a jockey for Due North until yesterday, after she was certain Mario Pino would ride favored Jet Stream and Edgar Prado would ride Silano. So she hoisted Rick Wilson aboard her homebred veteran, and 12 minutes later Due North advanced through a spacious opening in the stretch and overtook Baldski's Choice and Lance just before the wire.hed
James Eich, a camera operator at Maryland's thoroughbred tracks for 22 years, died yesterday following a lengthy illness. Eich, who was 64, had retired in 1989. END NOTES