John HenryJohn Henry (Bob Coglianese)Legendary American racehorse John Henry has died at the age of 32 at the Kentucky Horse Park, his home since he retired 23 years ago. The two-time Horse of the Year who won a record for his time of US$6.5 million was one of the greatest racehorses of his era. But the gelding who was still winning at the highest level at the age of nine was best known as the “Blue Collar Hero” of American racing.

John Henry won 39 of his 83 races, with an incredible 16 of his victories coming in Grade One events. Among his most notable successes are a pair of Arlington Millions, the first as a six-year-old in 1981 and the second three years later in his final season on the track. John Henry was foaled in March 1975 at Golden Chance Farm in Kentucky and was a son of Old Bob Bowers and the Double Jay mare Once Double.

John HenryHe was owned for most of racing career by Sam and Dorothy Rubin and was trained by Ron McAnally who always claimed to have kept him fit and well on a diet of “carrots, apples and love”. As well as his Horse of the Year awards in 1981 and 1984, John Henry collected Eclipse awards as best turf male (1980, 1981, 1983, 1984) and  as top older male (1981).

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990. During 1984 John Henry won the final four races of his career taking the G1 Sunset Handicap, the G1 Arlington Million (gr. IT), G1 Turf Classic and the Ballantine Handicap at the Meadowlands. He will be buried near his paddock at the Hall of Champions.

Extract by Mike Hedge from Stallions Daily Bulletin 10.10.07