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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


UPDATE - Tuesday 9:07 am
QUIJANO, the best handicap horse in Germany (photo at left by Jim Clark) is en route to Woodbine for the CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL on Oct. 21. The gelding has won 12 of 15 races including the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden on Sept 2 with 132 lbs. He's 5 for 6 at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

(Below) JOHN HENRY this spring at his home at the Kentucky Horse Park. Randy and Debby Speck of Chiefswood Stable visited the 32 hero and took this photo.
The great warrior was euthanized last night.

One of Thoroughbred Racing’s Greatest Stars, John Henry, Will be Sorely Missed

Contact: Cindy Rullman

859-259-4209 ext 209

LEXINGTON, KY (October 8, 2007) John Henry, the legendary Thoroughbred racehorse who was twice Horse of the Year, was humanely euthanized at the Kentucky Horse Park today at 7:00 pm.

John Nicholson, executive director of the park expressed, “The mighty heart of the great John Henry has, at long last, yielded to time. The racing industry has lost a legend, but more significantly, many people have lost a personal hero. John Henry’s true legacy was written in people’s hearts far more indelibly than his superlative racing career could ever reflect.” He continued, “John Henry was a testament to the fact that a horse’s value is far greater than the sum of his pedigree, conformation, sales price and race record. Winston Churchill said that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man, but I would add that horses like John Henry prove that the inside of a horse is even better for the inside of man.”

The sad but unanimous decision was reached by a team of people who knew him best. The park’s equine director, Kathy Hopkins stated, “After continued successful efforts to maintain the quality of John Henry's life, in the past 48 hours he did not respond to our medical intervention. Due to the loss of kidney function and muscle mass, his veterinarian, Dr. Mike Beyer, found it impossible to keep him properly hydrated and comfortable. Over the years, our goal has always been to maintain the highest quality of care and life for him, and it became evident over the weekend that this was no longer possible. Our hearts go out to all of those who so deeply cared for John during his long and charismatic life.”

He lived 32-and-a-half years, and went peacefully to sleep surrounded by a small circle of friends who were closest to him, including Cathy Roby, who has been his friend and caretaker for 16 years and his breeder, Verna Lehmann.

John Henry overcame numerous well-known obstacles throughout his career, and colic surgery in 2002. His talent, determination, tenacity and toughness inspired thousands of people who didn’t even see him race, but became aware of him many years after his retirement. Some of his fans visited him at least once a month from Toledo, Indianapolis, and other cities in the Midwest, while others made annual pilgrimages to his barn from California, Texas and around the world. When it recently became public knowledge that his health was in a state of decline, many of his fans immediately came to the park to thank their beloved champion for the memories, and to whisper their personal, final farewells to the horse who inspired great respect and ardent devotion.

John Henry’s race record included more than $6.5 million in earnings, 39 wins including 30 stakes wins (16 Grade 1 stakes wins) and seven Eclipse Awards, including two Horse of the Year titles. He equaled a world track record for 1 ½ miles in 2:23 at Santa Anita and was the only horse to win Horse of the Year more than once in nonconsecutive years, and the oldest horse ever to win that title - at age nine. John Henry was voted Racehorse of the Decade for the 1980s, and was inducted into Racing's Hall of Fame in 1990.

Sired by Ole Bob Bowers out of Once Double, by Double Jay, John Henry was foaled on March 9, 1975 at Golden Chance Farm in Paris, Kentucky.

After having passed through several owners and trainers, John Henry finally blossomed under the careful tutelage of trainer Ron McAnally, and with his owner, Sam Rubin. McAnally, who brought out the best in the horse with “carrots, apples and love,” visited John Henry many times during the horse’s retirement and had just seen him again as recently as September, and brought John’s favorite cookies and carrots to his aging protégé. Lewis Cenicola, John Henry’s exercise rider for six years, also visited the horse in September.

Tom Levinson, stepson of the late Sam Rubin said, “John always had fire in his eyes as he circled his opponents in the paddock while they pranced, his eyes glazed with the determination to win. Certainly he was the people’s hero… Sam and Dorothy loved sharing John’s victories with his adoring fans and we appreciate their devotion even to this sad day… We are sure that if Sam Rubin were here today, he and my mother Dorothy would agree that their wish would be for John Henry to be remembered as the mighty, cantankerous champion we all loved.”

Chris McCarron rode John Henry in 14 of his last races and has spent many hours with the horse during his 22 years at the park. Regarding the great horse’s passing, he observed, “What can I say about the legendary John Henry that has not already been said? John meant the world to my family and me. Everywhere he raced, his presence doubled the size of a normal race track crowd. He did so much for racing, even after he retired, that he will be impossible to replace. He will be sorely missed but forever in our hearts.”

A public memorial service will be held and will be announced by the park upon completion of the arrangements. Plans will be posted on the park’s website, under News & Media and the Calendar of Events. John Henry will be buried near his paddock at the Hall of Champions. Other Thoroughbred champions buried at the park include Man o’ War, War Admiral, Forego, Bold Forbes, Allez France, Peteski and Jay Trump.

Recent photos and video of John Henry can be seen on The Horse website at by searching for “Hoofing it With John Henry.” A new documentary, John Henry: An American Hero, produced by Open Sky Entertainment (Producer: Rebecca Gebhard, Directors: Chris Koby and Cameron Duddy) is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the release date to be announced.

One of his legions of admirers, Howard McClurkin from Weatherford, Texas, summarized his and many fans’ devotion this way, “John Henry is an anchor in one’s life. When things are not going well and one needs inspiration or perhaps one just wants a moment of happiness by thinking of extraordinary accomplishments arising from such a painfully humble beginning, the thought and image of John Henry are readily at hand. He started in a hole. He started with zero and went on to lasso the stars.”

John Nicholson concluded, “The next few days will be terribly difficult for his fans, but especially for the people here at the park who have worked with him and loved him for so long. It was our unparalleled privilege to have John Henry living at the Kentucky Horse Park for the past 22 years.”


Earle Mack’s stocky compact colt GLOBETROTTER bounced his way to the Breeders’ Cup with a super win in the Grey Breeders’ Cup yesterday at Woodbine despite trailing a very slow pace.

The Street Cry – Cool Slew chestnut, a $150K yearling purchase from breeder Live Oak Stud, was expertly ridden by Jeremy Rose and outbattled a green COOL GATOR in the stretch to win the 1 1/16 mile Grade 3 race. His Beyer was 76.

Heavily favoured Turf War never looked comfortable as he was always pinned down on the inside and he faded to last place.

MIGHTY VOW had a troubled stretch run and could have possibly entered the exactor picture with a better journey.

Globetrotter is 2 for 2 in his career now.

Another easy score for FINANCINGAVAILABLE as she dropped back into Ontario sired company for the Classy n Smart Stakes. The ole grey mare led all the way for her 15th win in her 27th start and she added another $80K or so to her $1.1 million in earnings. Her Beyer was 85.

Her 4 for 6 record is good this year – will it be enough to beat graded stakes winner MONASHEE, another super grey mare, for the Sovereign Award? Monashee goes for 11 straight stakes wins in a graded race this weekend at Hastings Park.

Box Arrow Farm, owned by Shirley Prosser, bred JAZZ NATION, an impressive 2yo debut winner for Zayat Stables and trainer Reade Baker in race 1. The quick colt outdueled GHOSTLY CONCERTO through 21 2/5 and 45 1/5 splits and won in 58 2/5 – a 70 Beyer Figure. The City Zip – Jazz Star colt was bred in Ontario and is a ½ brother to Elvis the Great.

The latter took a bad step near the wire and lost his rider Constant Montpellier, who appeared to be okay after the race. The colt was also okay.

(Baker gave THOROUGHBLOG some reports yesterday – the 2yo Van Nistlerooy filly AMAZING MISS, bucked a shin in her debut loss last week. BEAR NOW had a sharp workout yesterday and will ship to Monmouth Park the Monday before the Breeders’ Cup for the Distaff as long as she gets in the race. Jazz Nation could also head to Monmouth for the Favorite Trick Stakes.)

Baker also won the finale with Kiridashi’s daughter DASH IT DARLING, who handily won the Ontario sired allowance at 81/2 furlongs. The Harlequin owned filly is 2 for 9 in her career now and has won over $100,000.

Incidentally, Kiridashi,a stallion by Bold Ruckus, had 3 winners on yesterday’s card

SHEIK YOBUTI RACING STABLE’S (Yes, ‘shake your booty) EAST END TAP won his 2nd career start in a MSW for 2yo’s going 8 ½ furlongs. The time of 1:49 was dreadfully slow over a Polytrack that had been reportedly dug up Sunday evening but the 65 Beyer Figure was okay. The Ontario-bred by Pleasant Tap – East End Lady was bred by Jim Sabiston.


A meeting between track folks and horsepeople at Woodbine yesterday (around the time that the Polytrack was apparently dug up again, thus the reallllly slow times yesterday) came to a decision that the track would be power harrowed (dug up) each Monday afternoon and not again untilthe next Monday. So, expect the surface to be slower on Wednesday nights that it will be on the weekends....

DANCING ALLSTAR, a top 2yo filly in Canada who has won 4 of 6 races this year and won the Sadie Diamond at Hastings last weekend, got a 77 Beyer for her win.

The BEST CANADIAN-BRED 3YO IS DAAHER (110 Beyer Figure) who won the Grade 2 Jerome at Belmont last weekend. The Yvonne and Dagmar Schwabe bred by Awesome Again – Irish Cherry is headed to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on the Friday before the Cup. The colt was on the edged in the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales but would have to race once more in Canada to be a Sovereign Award winner.

Jambalaya knows how you feel, Daaher.

Fellow blogger ALLAN MANN (Left at the Gate)...

talks about Jeanine Edwards comments on Teuflesberg, before he broke down last weekend....(visit Alan's Breeders' Cup blog too)

Bad Day at the Office for ESPN, Keeneland

- Teuflesberg suffered fractures to both front feet during the Phoenix Handicap at Keeneland on Saturday, but has survived thus far and is scheduled, hopefully, for surgery next week. The other two horses who suffered injuries on the day were not as lucky.

Jeannine Edwards, reporting during ESPN's coverage of the Breeders' Cup Challenge races, said of the colt's last workout, an uncharacteristically lethargic half in 51 4/5 on September 27, that she was told by people at Keeneland that the horse "did not look 100% fit or sound or ready to run." Then she added that she wasn't insinuating anything. However, she already had. Perhaps she misspoke and simply meant that it wasn't a great workout. But to say that the horse didn't look 100% sound can be taken as an assertion that the horse shouldn't have run.

Man, it was a tough day for the boys on ESPN. They're trying to promote the sport to an audience which presumably included some casual or prospective new fans. But within the first few minutes of the broadcast, Randy Moss, to his and the network's credit, immediately tackled the Biancone suspension; and then had to report on the tragic paddock accident that took the life of Dream of Angels. Moss made sure to highlight the new rules in Kentucky that would prevent Biancone from transferring his horses to assistants, and specifically mentioned how Pletcher and Asmussen had done just that during their bans. Good job there.

The network had a vet on call to report on the three accidents, and did not shy away at all from the bad news, even cutting to a shot of the stricken Teuflesberg during the live coverage of the race, and providing constant updates throughout the day. There was also a grim shot of Teuflesberg having somehow gotten loose; how that could have happened, I really can't say. So let's say it was a very honest telecast - perhaps more so than some people in the industry would like to have seen.

The telecast on the whole was a mixed bag which included some serious audio and visual mishaps which I'll get to at a later time. It's now Sunday morning, and I have a wedding this afternoon, which means that I'll be missing the Jets-Giants game (which could be a good thing), as well as all of the racing today. I'm NOT happy!! I'm now gonna try and put together some Breeders' Cup Pick Fours for the races that will be televised on ESPN2 starting at 5PM in the east.

I'm also not particularly happy that there's apparently no coverage on TVG of the Arc and other races from Longchamps this morning. I see from HRTV's website that the races are on there, so I suppose we have our good friends at Churchill and Magna to thank for this. Merci beaucoup.


  • At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Photos from Longchamp:

    Dylan Thomas wins the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe:

    Slide show of the Arc:

    Undercard races on Arc day (5 Group 1 races):

    Stakes races on Saturday including the Prix de la Foret(G1):

    Slide show of Saturday's stakes races:


  • At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks Anonymous 4:43 PM,

    I was thinking more along the lines of the track coverage than mainstream TV, when it came to the visual effects for the viewer and racefan.

    When I watch a race, I want information, I want to see how my horse is running, how the other horses are running and also look for something for another day.

    The camera work at Woodbine is unimaginative, bland and cheap. It could easily have been designed by a 10yo.

    It lacks anything close up, or in depth, nothing head on and why can't the standard bred track be used for a moving camera. It's not leading edge technology, but would make it more interesting for the racefan, bettor and hopefully make it more entertaining to the casual viewer.

    Unfortunately, this is just one area to improve, interviews and general presentation are others. Why do they ignore the owner (if they are willing) in post race interviews, do they carry the plague????? An elated owner would be far better to watch than a jockey mumbling into the microphone. Excitement and entertainment is what it's all about, to me it's naturally there, it just seems that everything possible is done to suppress it.

  • At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    jen,todd kabel rode only on saturday and is not riding on wednesday and thursday. He was off his mounts 3 out of 4 days. But on the ojc site they have a picture of windward islands working sunday morning and it looks like kabel working him. what is going on???

  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Jen Morrison said…

    Robin Platts worked WINDWARD ISLANDS in that photo on the Woodbine site. Todd Kabel is apparently sick.

  • At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    As an horse owner,horseplayer and someone who has been associated with Woodbine racing for over 25 years i am just going to come out and say that "Polytrack is a complete and udder disaster". Instead of uniform consistency in the track as i was promised i get constant inconsistency. The track changes weekly or daily. It is very difficult to handicap and many astute horseplayers that I know no longer play Woodbine.
    If you think it is hard on the handicappers try talking to the trainers. Where are all the glowing nonsense emitted by the trainers now that we have had polytrack for a year? Polytrack was supposed to be safer yet the work tabs on the dirt training track have been increasing.
    Ahmad Zayat pulled his horses from Del Mar because he did not believe in polytrack, in a meet that is 6 weeks long. We have to endure this track for 8 plus months.
    As an owner try to peruse a sales catalog with generations of statistics of horses who never stepped on polytrack and figure out which horse will click on this surface which changes on any given day. It is a daunting and costly task.
    Enough is Enough. BRING BACK THE DIRT!!!!

  • At 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i agree with the above post. As a smalltime owner and better as well. I am finding it almost impossible to bet one, needless find one of any value to buy. Whenever you talk to trainers, they say injuries are up, way up. Why is this not being more talked about?
    Do we even need to mention the work consistancy?

    wishing there were other ontario choices.....and dont say fort erie

  • At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm just a bettor but I say bring back the dirt too. My betting on Woodbine is way down this year. I only like betting the turf races now. I have switched to betting Belmont instead.

  • At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the question that you should be asking is, why?

    The surface is/has been working consistently elsewhere, so why not here.

    When it was first installed, it was a great surface for the first few weeks, perhaps the times were a shade slower than dirt, the horses came back a little stiff after working 'differently' and one or two didn't like it, but it was welcomed by all (except handicappers).

    What happened after those initial weeks and please don't tell me the weather changed?

  • At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    like with everything else.

    the big cheese's at Woodbine will keep their head in the sand with the polytrack complaints.

    betting will continue to tumble and eventually no on will be left to play anymore.

    10 years from now Woodbine will be nothing more than a large Poker Room.

  • At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Maybe Woodbine will be a big poker room eventually but it wont be because of the polytrack.
    It will be because the take out is too high,the odds change at the 3/8 pole and the refusal to ban all drugs from the sport.thats the reason so many horse break down or cannot reproduce their form.DRUGS.
    I actually like the polytrack and find it easier to predict than dirt.I can remember years at woodbine in the 2000s when the leading horse would win almost every race by many,the rest would follow round in order and it was totally unexciting and every winner would pay short odds.
    todays polytrack can change from speed to stamina bias daily but if you have the patience to watch the first few races it can be pretty obvious how the track is playing.some bias players are always searching for inside/outside which hardly ever happens.its all about speed,stretchouts one day and closers/cutbacks on other days.and no more Sloppy and muddy tracks to worry about!

  • At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh I forgot the other reason that woodbine could be a big poker room- Disqualifications of easy winners like the first tonight!These a stewards are the worst.

  • At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Totally agree with the above made comments and let's not forget about the health of the horses and the jockeys who "breath in" the poly everyday...

    Power to the People...bring back the dirt!

  • At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was just wondering what the horses and jockeys were breathing in when it was dirt and they were racing in a cloud of dust and sand.

    As far as I am aware, there have been no concerns in the UK where they have raced on it for years. I read in The Game that Southwell are expecting to replace their Fibresand surface, which was severely damaged in the floods a couple of months ago with Polytrack. Not sure they would consider that if the surface didn't work for health or racing requirements.

    Instead of wishing to regress, you should ask the question - WHY, because something doesn't add up?

  • At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    have to agree with the camera coverage...the arc race was amazing to watch...even the audio came out at you...woodbine take notes...

    and eccentric yesterday...was that a check or what down the lane...jono jones and leo...just lucky...


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