Photo: Bob Coglianese
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has announced the release of “The John Henry Collection” on its YouTube channel, allowing
racing fans to watch and relive all 20 of the gelding’s starts at Aqueduct Racetrack,
Park, and Saratoga Race Course.
The collection includes a pair of claiming races he won in 1978 as a 3-year-old, his narrow victory over Peat Moss in the 1981 Jockey Club Gold Cup, and his determined triumph over Win in the 1984 Turf Classic in his penultimate start.
The videos depict John Henry racing against many other notable horses, including turf stars Mac Diarmida and Waya, Saratoga track record holder Darby Creek Road, and 1980 Belmont Stakes winner Temperence Hill.
John Henry was foaled 38 years ago on March 9, 1975. He sold for $1,100 as a yearling and rose from obscurity to become a stalwart of the turf and handicap divisions, winning Horse of the Year honors in 1981 and 1984.
After beginning his career in Louisiana and Kentucky, he was purchased privately by Sam Rubin of Dotsam Stable. Following the sale, he quickly ascended from the claiming ranks and went on to win stakes for trainers Bob Donato, Victor “Lefty” Nickerson, and Hall of Famer Ron McAnally.
As a 9-year-old, John Henry won six of nine starts, including the Turf Classic. At the time of his retirement, he was North America’s highest-earning racehorse, having banked more than $6.5 million. His overall record was 39-15-9 in 83 career starts.
John Henry lived out his retirement at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he died in 2007 at the age of 32. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.