Longtime owner, breeder and trainer Harold Merriam has passed away following a brief battle with cancer. The native of Nova Scotia was 80.
Merriam’s wife Lexie passed in 1999 and he survived by daughters Cecilia and Sheila and son Essex, along with four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He is the uncle of Pauline Johnson, wife of trainer Bob Johnson.
“It was all of the sudden,” Sheila explained. “He was very healthy and still training and riding. He became sick around Thanksgiving and went in for some tests and they found the lymphoma.”
Bob Johnson was spending a great deal of time with Harold of late, noting his spirits were still very high.
“Up until very recently he was still training and also riding his beloved Buckskin Prince on the trails," he said. "He was a wonderful person and will be missed.”
When interviewed last year by Leighton Worthey, Merriam was asked about his favorite memory in racing.
“That would be Almond King,” he said. “He won the Great Western Pace in 1983. It was Cal Expo’s most valuable race at the time and I remember Lloyd Arnold presenting the trophy.”
Almond King was a son of Lumber King who was owned, trained and bred by Merriam. He won 23 of his 77 starts, earned $193,000 and had a 1:55.4 lifetime mark.