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Over the past twenty years, there have been maybe a handful of horses whose greatness places them above the rest - JOHN HENRY earned his way into this elite group. JOHN HENRY raced until he was nine-years-old and when he retired, he had won more money than any other race horse in history! It is an unlikely success story - a rags to riches tale that knowledgeable track goers still marvel at - in '75, he was purchased for $7,000, a mere pittance in this, "the Sport of Kings"; the next year, his owners practically gave him away for $1,100; the third owner then turned around and sold him for $10,000; the fourth owner traded him for two other horses until he ended up with his fifth and final owner, Sam Ruben, a bicycle manufacturer, who paid $25,000 for the gelding. A long journey ended and a much more satisfying one had begun.
See his first race on the turf in 1978 at - a claiming race victory won by over ten lengths! JOHN HENRY's easy victory convinced his owner that the horse was better suited to grass and sent him out West where there were more turf races. He hooked up with trainer, RON McANALLY, in '79 as a four-year-old and steadily improved - it didn't seem to matter who rode him - he just knew where the finish line was.
Then in '80 as a five-year-old, he really emerged as a champion - see film of the following 1980 races: San Gabriel Handicap, San Louis Rey Handicap, San Juan Capistrano, Hollywood Invitational, Oak Tree Invitational - the horse no one wanted went on to earn $925,217 and that was just the beginning! In '81 he won 8-of-10 races and earned $1,800,000 and received his first of two eventual Horse-of-the-Year Eclipse Awards; races of that year featured are the inaugural running of the Arlington Million and Jockey Club Gold Cup.
As the years rolled on, JOHN HENRY got better with age and went on to win Horse-of-the-Year for a second time in '84 - a fitting way to go out on top at nine-years-old when most horses had left the track long ago. Other outstanding races shown include: 1983 American Handicap, 1984 Hollywood Invitational, 1984 Arlington Million (his second win), and his last race the 1984 Ballantine Handicap ran on October 13, 1984.
His accomplishments are legendary: earning $6,597,947 from 83 races: three firsts, fifteen seconds, and nine thirds at 19 different tracks!
AS AN ADDED BONUS…nine mini segments are also included:
1) of JOHN HENRY and INTERCO
2) a visit with ‘OLE BOB BOWERS in (JOHN HENRY’s obscure and little-known sire)
3) JOHN HENRY’s 10th birthday party
4) the entire running of his 1984 Sunset Handicap victory
5) several lengthy segments looking back on highlights of the life of the forever cantankerous JOHN HENRY just hours after he was put to rest at 32-years-old
6) Santa Anita Park honors JOHN HENRY on its 75th anniversary and opening day on December 26, 2009, with the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of JOHN HENRY in the paddock gardens in remembrance of his 12 stakes wins during the 1980’s
7) HRTV's "Inside Information" remembers JOHN HENRY and the making of the JOHN HENRY bronze statue at Santa Anita Park
8) An HRTV, "Past the Stands", vignette on JOHN HENRY and the first running of the Arlington Million in 1981
9) Retired jockey Herb McAuley who rode JOHN HENRY three times when he was trained by Lefty Nickerson in 1979 is special guest by phone on TVG
This celebration of the blue-collar hero, JOHN HENRY, can be yours!
1 Hour and 52 Minutes.
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