View Full Version : John Henry: 1975-2007: at rest now

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:20 PM

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:26 PM
RIP old man:cry::cry:

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:29 PM
Thanks for posting-its not up on any of the major sites yet. It is nice though how he hung on so that so many people could say good-bye this past month.

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:38 PM
Good Bye old guy, thank you.

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:39 PM
From what I've read/heard. . he was having a
rough time of it this year. RIP, Great Horse.

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:39 PM
RIP John Henry :sadsmile:

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:46 PM
coolest. horse. ever.
RIP old man, I will never forget how you looked me in the eye in 94 and told me you knew I was a "horse person"

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:47 PM
RIP, John. I pulled out the pics I took of him at the KHP in 1987, when he was in full health. I'll remember him that way, not the more recent pics.

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:47 PM
Godspeed Old Man, now you can run like the wind once again.

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:51 PM
Bless You John Henry. You were loved by many and will never be forgotten. RIP Grand Old Man. :sadsmile:

Oct. 8, 2007, 08:51 PM
Godspeed Old Man.


Oct. 8, 2007, 08:53 PM
Oh. Damn.


I'm so glad I saw him in August.

Run like the wind, John Henry.

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:02 PM
THE GREAT JOHN HENRY IS GONE - One of Thoroughbred Racing's Greatest Stars Will be Sorely Missed

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.

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.”


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.”

For the complete story, please see: http://www.kyhorsepark.com/news.php?articleID=57&pageid=73&sectionid=9

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:07 PM
R.I.P. Old Man. The races at the Bridge just added one heck of a contender.

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:09 PM
How sad, he will be greatly missed by many...

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:12 PM
RIP Old Man, Saw him several times over the last few years,
To those on the other side of the rainbow bridge......there's a new sheriff in town.....

We loved your heart and soul....
God Speed John Henry.....

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:13 PM
Somehow, it is just so fitting that this great heart picked himself up, despite age, disease, dehydration...and made sure that even more people got to see him one more time, to acknowledge him one more time.

To remember his shining moments, the pride and the ambition and the absolute will to fly.

The Look of Eagles, for sure.

Im glad you're over The Bridge now.

godspeed, great one.

Lori T
Oct. 8, 2007, 09:25 PM
Ah, how sad. I will really cherish my picture of him looking at our mare over the fence at pony club champs. He was such a champion.

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:30 PM
Goodnight wonderful, grumpy old man :cry:

He will be missed for sure.

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:33 PM
Aw... I am crying. :sadsmile: I am so glad I got to see him in April. He lived a long, fruitful life. He was loved, adored, cared for by many.

Rest in peace John Henry.

Thank you John for all the joy you gave thousands of people. You will always be my hero.

Thank you John Henry. You will be missed.

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:33 PM
Ah! I feel like we were all expecting this soon, but wow. Of course, every year I thought it might be the last! And how he exceeded my expectations! I suppose the same could be said for his racing career. I saw him when I was a young kid- he was old then too! I visited once more last year on a cold quiet March day, he seemed every bit retired, and not mean at all. Sometimes the most amazing thing about a great thoroughbred is that, in the end, he is still just a horse. Not to take anything away- quite the opposite; just that when you think of his accomplishments and glory, his athletic feats, and what he meant to so many people, it's incredible to believe when you see him that he is actually, in many regards, simply a horse.
He had wonderful care in the end and it seems his passing was very easy. Rest in peace.

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:35 PM
Godspeed, brave heart. :sadsmile:

He nickered at me once, I'll never forget it. :)

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:37 PM
Godspeed, you grumpy, magnificent old man. Go give that whippersnapper Barbaro a run for his money. I'm so glad we got to see you a few weeks ago. RIP

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:46 PM
Rest in Peace. May your body now be as strong as your heart.

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:55 PM
RIP, Old Man! :sadsmile:

Oct. 8, 2007, 09:57 PM
My first live introduction to American racing was the Arlington Million in '81. Before that we only ever saw clips after the fact of big races and read of the legendary exploits of the likes of Slew, Secretariat, young Stevie Cauthen's amazing TC win on Affirmed.
The first Million was different. It was a big deal, first race worth a Million dollars, and on the grass, with horses invited from Europe to try they're hand. And we got to see it live, albeit very late in the evening. Legendary Irish racing commentator, Mícheál Ó hEithir was even brought in to be part of the US network commentary team. In the build up to the race we kept hearing about some horse with the less than regal name of "John Henry", who was this unusual of animals in that he cold run against and beat the best on grass and dirt. We didn't know much about dirt racing, but surely this race on grass would go to a European raider. Then we saw him, and he seemed aptly named, small and unassuming, almost like a pony. Damn, did he ever make a believer of me that night. Kept an eye out for news of him after that, and reports would filter through of some other big race he won... the Jockey Club Gold Cup, some big Handicap and other races with exotic sounding Spanish names at exotic sounding Santa Anita. With each report we listened or read with wild eyed amazement as his bankroll of earnings grew, $2m, $3m, $5m, over $6m, man this horse was printing money! He won the Million again in '84, but I was sad when the news came that he wouldn't run in the first Breeder's Cup. I wanted to see him again.
I love racing, but I especially love world racing, and he was the horse that really introduced me to the fact that great horses are great horses whether they are galloping over the fabled ground of Flemington, Longchamp, Santa Anita, or Sha Tin. But most of all I just loved that he was lowly bred but ran his heart out, and what a fighter he was.

Here is that first Arlington Million (http://youtube.com/watch?v=aQ2ByoMBq6k), with all the after race footage and interviews.... back when racing coverage was good.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh do anam uasal, old boy... and thanks for the memories.

Oct. 8, 2007, 10:13 PM
I just saw him on Saturday morning, when he was out for his walk. He nuzzled my hand when I stroked his cheek. I'll never forget the expression in his eyes- brilliant and alive in a wasted and failing body. God speed, grand pony.

Oct. 8, 2007, 10:21 PM
My heart aches that he's gone. I really had a soft spot for this one.

RIP John Henry.

Oct. 8, 2007, 10:22 PM
RIP, John Henry

Oct. 8, 2007, 10:41 PM
Aw thanks for putting that up Drvmb. I still can't believe that race. I don't know that I'd seen the post race before but it cracked me up when that trainer said his mare was for sale. Too funny. And then they couldn't get John Henry to stand.
That video is a nice way to remember him.

Oct. 8, 2007, 11:05 PM
I'll have to watch the video later since I can't get to it right now, but I'm looking forward to it.

I guess I shouldn't be shocked over this news, but I am. A little heartbroken, too.

RIP, Old Man. Have a great time galloping through the green fields on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. :cry:

Oct. 8, 2007, 11:08 PM
Great to see that video!
I saw him in July, he would not let me get a picture. The nice lady there finally let me stand in the stall door. Bless his heart.

Oct. 8, 2007, 11:22 PM
He was a tough horse, with a big heart, and ran great races.
RIP John Henry

Oct. 8, 2007, 11:24 PM
He defied the odds for so long. It was a honor to stand in his presence. RIP - John Henry.

Oct. 8, 2007, 11:31 PM
John here is to you - Godspeed to one stirring champion who earned every ounce of ink he ever garnered in the press, every cheer and ovation by the packed in fans at the races and every visitor who ever paused at his KHP stall and said in reverent tone “that is THE John Henry”! The last of the Mohicans, if you will, of horses who was grit, heart and determination inspite of high handicaps, younger competitors, and anything but soft schedules.

If you hear thunder tomorrow, rest assured that it’s the son of Old Bob Bowers hooves pounding the 'turf' in one heck of race in the heavens not seen since the early 1980's.

I'll take a win ticket on John Henry :(

Oct. 8, 2007, 11:52 PM
Godspeed John Henry...

Oct. 8, 2007, 11:56 PM
Oh, Glimmerglass, you have renewed my tears. That was so beautifully put. Thank you all for these wonderful tributes to John. I loved him dearly, and it is so good to read them, now. I had hoped to visit him again, but I am too late. He enriched our lives, like a glory train passing through us. He is not gone; we just cannot see him any more.

If you would like to sign his Guest Book:


Oct. 9, 2007, 01:00 AM
I had no idea... he was such a cool horse! I have been to the KY horse park a bunch over the last few years to go to horse shows and such and one of my favorite things to do was to go see him and to go to the "stride markers" and look at his stride next to the big guys... he will be missed!:cry:

Oct. 9, 2007, 06:58 AM
An honorable ending for our noble ambassador. He made his last year his own, greeting the newest generation of horse fans, joining in the parades, and flirting with the mares.

Oct. 9, 2007, 08:32 AM
There was a fitting tribute to John Henry last night on HRT, or TVG. Not sure which one as it was late... went to bed dreaming of horse racing...

I have some wonderful pictures of John Henry from a few yrs ago... we are headed to Kentucky in a few weeks, and were planning to stop by the Horse Park for a final visit...I am grateful that he did not suffer, and will always remember him for the grand horse he was.

Oct. 9, 2007, 08:32 AM
May he rest in peace, racing with the others who are over the bridge. :sadsmile: We'll miss you here on earth, but look forward to seeing you run free when we join you.

teal tea
Oct. 9, 2007, 08:33 AM
This is really sad news. While I'm sad I never got to see him, I'm glad he was euthanized if it was his time. Just knowing that he's spirit was not stifled at the end comforts me.

Oct. 9, 2007, 08:54 AM
This thread makes me cry. Glimmerglass, your post especially. :(

Chester's Mom
Oct. 9, 2007, 09:04 AM
Godspeed, John Henry. We visited yearly on our Breyerfest trips (past 9 years) and (like Shea's Mom) we couldn't get a photo this year. Maybe he wanted to be sure we remembered his better days....

ASB Stars
Oct. 9, 2007, 09:09 AM
I'm so sorry I didn't get to see him this year- I have visited him at the Park each year for a long time...

My heart especially goes out to Cathy Roby. She must be heartbroken at the loss of her most noble charge. I am sure he carved out a plce in her, and will remain there forever. Bless her, and the folks at the Park, for making Johns retirement a long and happy time, and his end a dignified one, befitting the great champion that he was...

Ridge Runner
Oct. 9, 2007, 09:11 AM
I saw him in July when I was there to do the Parade of Breeds with my stallion. He showed such great dignity. He was there when I visited the Park in 1988 for the first time also. He was such an icon and I'm certain he will be sorely missed.

Run John Henry Run.

Oct. 9, 2007, 09:20 AM
One of my favorite "sights" during Dad's old business trips to KY. Thank you, John Henry. We'll miss you.

Oct. 9, 2007, 10:56 AM
KHP News Release:


Memorial Service Planned for the Great John Henry

He was not the best race horse. He was not the fastest or the busiest. He wasn't the greatest weight carrier, and certainly not the handsomest or the most personable. But he was the most remarkable horse who ever raced -- anywhere.

Joe Hirsch
Retired Daily Racing Form columnist

A public memorial service to remember and celebrate the remarkable life and legacy of John Henry will be held
October 19 at 2pm at the park.

Please plan to join us.

Oct. 9, 2007, 11:14 AM
His earthly vessel shall restrain him no longer. He is now where he belongs, amidst the greatest runners that ever graced us with their presence, in a heavenly stable where I hope to work some day...

In 1984, when I was 13 years old, I fashioned a shadow roll out of a couple sheepskin halter fuzzies and affixed it to the noseband of a seal brown off-track QH belonging to a neighbor who so graciously allowed me to ride him endlessly over through the streets and wooded paths of my hometown... I did so not because my mount jumped at lines or shadows on the ground, but because I wanted to pretend I was riding the great John Henry as we galloped over our imaginary turf track which encircled the local baseball field...

I made the pilgrimage in May. He rewarded my patience handsomely.

Farewell to the gutsiest old gelding of them all. (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2099860870099108256CLqTbM)

Oct. 9, 2007, 12:11 PM
He's not going to rest. He is John Henry.

Saw him about 8 weeks ago or so, it was obvious this was not going to continue much longer. Agree the eyes were there but the body was not.

So I'll toast to John Henry and say run again as you once did. Not rest.

Oct. 9, 2007, 12:34 PM
I have to agree VB, Glimmerglass said it best. "If you hear thunder tomorrow, rest assured that it’s the son of Old Bob Bowers hooves pounding the 'turf' in one heck of race in the heavens not seen since the early 1980's. "

When the drought and heat come to an end tonight, it will be John Henry's hoof beats in the sky that bring the rain...tears from heaven, to mark the end of a great horse.

Rest in Peace, JH you were a real tough horse.

Oct. 9, 2007, 12:55 PM
Wow, we were in Lexington for Fallstars weekend at Keeneland and I told my wife that I wanted to make sure we got by to see him before we left.

We saw him at 12:50 on Sunday (checked the time stamp on the picture). They said they no longer present him in the parade of champions, but did not really mention his recent illness. He was quietly eating hay and not paying attention to those around him. There were cards hung on his stall which I took pictures of. I'll post those later (can't get to webshots from here). The couple of pics I took of him were not flattering and I'll just keep those to myself.

Glad he had a peaceful passing.

Oct. 9, 2007, 01:26 PM
John's Guest Book has surpassed 20 pages of stirring tributes to him. It is so good to cry with others over the loss of this defiant and thrilling horse. He was the glory train that passed through us all. The emptiness of his stall is palpable everywhere.

There are some grand photographs of John on this link:


The one of him on his 30th birthday with Chris McCarron would bring tears to a stone.

Oct. 9, 2007, 01:48 PM
At every KHP show, I never missed my chance to go over and say hello to the "grumpy old man." He was so awesome and strong and gave us such wonderful memories.

Oct. 9, 2007, 02:08 PM
I first became interested in racing in the early 1980's when John Henry was at the top of the game. So he marks the very beginning of my racing life and memories. I saw him run in so many races on TV and I always thought he was so cool. It's going to be strange and hard to get used to John Henry not being around anymore.

Godspeed, John. You da man. :sadsmile:

A Horsey Canuck
Oct. 9, 2007, 03:52 PM
Thanks to all of you, especially Glimmerglass and Grits for such wonderful words describing our hero, John. I felt the tears from above early this morning when a gentle rain was falling. I had expected John's thunder from the Bridge, but there was none. Perhaps it's because he got his way again and is finally at peace. I think once John catches his breath and realizes that there are racetracks to conquer at the Bridge, we will eventually hear the thundering hooves once he finds Secretariat, Ruffian, Barbaro and Old Bob Bowers. What a re-union and race that will be. My money's on John!

Oct. 9, 2007, 03:58 PM
I like your horse race and I certainly loved JH but my money is on Ruffian! We had some rain today, sprinkles from above but we had thunder last night! I guess they were just welcoming him.... He will be missed especially by the people who cared for him daily. My thoughts and prayers are with them today.....

John always did it his way!

Oct. 9, 2007, 04:09 PM
I saw John Henry in May 2000 and it was such a thrill to be able to see him in person - I still remember him blazing down the stretch in so many races. He was a treasure that will be missed for a long time to come. I always loved to watch him race..

RIP sweet boy...

Oct. 9, 2007, 09:46 PM
If you hear thunder tomorrow, rest assured that it’s the son of Old Bob Bowers hooves pounding the 'turf' in one heck of race in the heavens not seen since the early 1980's.

I'll take a win ticket on John Henry :(

Beautifully put, Glimmerglass. Never stop running, John Henry.

Oct. 9, 2007, 10:47 PM
I just re-watched the 1982 Santa Anita Handicap on You-Tube.

I was at Santa Anita that day and it's a day I'll never forget.

When I hear the call "And here coooomes Johhhhhhhn Henry!" I get the chills. (OK tears in my eyes too..) It was so great and that part of the race gets me every time.

What a grand old horse he was. He will truly be missed.

RIP, big guy.

Oct. 10, 2007, 10:37 AM
From their story by Glenye Cain Oakford:

<<John Henry died at 7:05 p.m. Roby and her staff stayed at the Hall of Champions until just after 10 p.m., calling a two-page list of people, mostly elderly fans, who had asked to be informed of the great horse's death by phone, rather than having the shock of seeing it in the papers.

John Henry and his public enjoyed a long goodbye over the summer, when the reports of his dehydration caused many - including one of his former trainers, Bob Donato, former exercise rider Lewis Cenicola, and countless racing fans - to stop by.

John Henry also continued to enjoy his strolls around the park. About an hour before he died, he took a short walk, leading groom Robin Bush halfway up the walkway from his barn, almost to the place where his grave now stands.

"He was ready," Roby, 58, said. "He was so tired. It got to the point where you could see in his eyes he didn't want to fight anymore."

On Tuesday morning, potted white mums and single red roses were laid atop and around John Henry's grave near his paddock. The atmosphere inside the Hall of Champions barn was hushed as a few visitors paused at John Henry's stall door - closed, but still bearing his brass nameplate - to view the mounting flower arrangements and cards from his fans in Burbank, Boston, New Orleans, Seattle, and elsewhere. The park staff, having opened the barn and fed their other charges, seemed a little unsure how to fill the time left, now that their most demanding champion was gone.

"He knew how he should be treated, and he demanded that he be treated that way," said Bush, the 26-year-old park groom who took John Henry for his final walk. "If you didn't, he let you know that wasn't acceptable. He wouldn't tolerate anything that he didn't feel was necessary or appropriate. He just put up with us. He knew that he could get what he wanted by putting up with us.

"The most people could hope for," she concluded, "was that he wouldn't dislike them."

Even in his last weeks, John Henry retained his infamously obstreperous nature, said Roby, who oversaw his daily care for the last 16 years. She had to resort to trickery simply to catch him and medicate him.

"He didn't want to be caught, and every day we'd have to come up with a new plan to try to catch him," she said. "We even got to the point where we would sneak out the back door and hide under his window, and if he stuck his head out the window we would grab his halter. We even tried leaning in his window with a lasso to catch him. It was never a dull moment with John."

John Henry was foaled March 9, 1975, in Kentucky, the result of a mating between Ole Bob Bowers and the Double Jay mare Once Double by Lehmann's Golden Chance Farm. He sold as a yearling for just $1,100 in 1976 to Jean Calloway, who resold him the following year for $2,200. His new buyer, Harold Snowden Jr., found it necessary to geld him in an effort to control the horse's bad temperament.

Snowden sold him to a Louisiana-based partnership for whom John Henry won his first stakes race, the Lafayette Futurity at Evangeline Downs. He was traded back to Snowden, who then sold him to Sam Rubin. It was for Sam Rubin and his wife, Dorothy, that John Henry had most of his success, racing in the colors of their Dotsam Stable.

John Henry went on to become one of the great champions of the modern era, amassing 39 wins from 83 career starts and retiring in 1985 with a then-record $6,591,860 in earnings. His victories included 16 Gradeo1 races and multiple winnings of the Arlington Million (1981, '84), Santa Anita Handicap (1981, '82), Hollywood Invitational (1980, '81, '84), Oak Tree Invitational (1980, '81, '82), and San Luis Rey Stakes (1980, '81). His last trainer, Ron McAnally, is most often associated with John Henry, but Donato and Phil Marino also saddled him earlier in his career.

John Henry was voted champion grass horse in 1980, '81, '83, and '84; champion older horse in 1981; and Horse of the Year in 1981 and 1984. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990.

Recounting those facts for park visitors, Bush said, was sometimes surreal.

"I found it became hard to look at him and realize, yes, that's the horse that really did all this - and he's my friend," she said. "I get to work with him, I get to brush him, I get to touch greatness every day. You just come to love the horses for who they are. The reason I'm so attached to him, in the end, isn't really about what he did on the racetrack but because of who he was. There will never be another personality quite like his."

Roby said: "It was strange. It was John until the minute that anesthetic took effect. It hit him hard, and he went down gently on his side, and he was gone before his body hit the ground. And that body was not John. You look at this little, frail body, and that was not John. His spirit was so huge, when that spirit was not there, it was just a little bag of bones on the ground."

The park has planned a public memorial service at John Henry's gravesite for 2 p.m. Oct. 19.>>

Oct. 10, 2007, 11:13 AM
RIP, great champion. :(

Oct. 10, 2007, 11:18 AM
I was somehow unaware of this:


Oct. 10, 2007, 12:11 PM
WOW, what a good little trailer. Everybody ought to hit that link and watch a slickly produced 2 minutes or so. Kind of caught the essence of John there..."alive and still kicking...and biting":)

Thanks for the memories.

Oct. 10, 2007, 12:35 PM
I was somehow unaware of this:


A big thanks for sharing this!!

"John Henry: An American Hero" - per IMDB.com - looks to still be still in "post production". The Beverly Hills, CA-based production company Open Sky Entertainment (http://openskyent.com/index2b.html) looks a bit sketchy with their past products, but the documentary itself was done by Cameron Duddy and Rebecca Gebhard. (http://johnhenryhorse.blogspot.com/2007/07/john-henry-documentary-update-from.html).

In addition to this is the HRTV produced "John Henry at 30" compilation that was marketed as a DVD (found at the KHP) and also aired on HRTV. That shows in their entirety about 20 of his hardfought races plus limited comments.

A nice photo of John Henry's grave as of Tuesday afternoon (http://www.kentucky.com/211/story/198574.html) - credit: Charles Bertram (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Yesterday throughout the day TVG mentioned several reflections one of which was by artist Richard Stone who did a few John portraits. He recalled that the late great trainer Charlie Whittingham told him that he instructed his entire crew when in the paddock to NEVER let any of his horses ever look John Henry in the eye before a race. Simply because John was one of those horses who would intimidate any challengers who dared to assert themselves as better.

Oct. 10, 2007, 01:06 PM
Thanks for sharing that, ArtilleryHill. Great story and insights.

Oct. 10, 2007, 07:45 PM
I just read what Roby said about his final moments and have tears streaming down my face.

What an absolutely incredible horse John Henry was. As a child, I lived near Arlington Park when he won the Arlington Million, and he became my hero.

Godspeed, John Henry.

Oct. 10, 2007, 08:58 PM
I was somehow unaware of this:


Very nice trailer... I can't wait for the final film.

Dreamboat Annie
Oct. 11, 2007, 01:18 AM
R.I.P John Henry, there will never be another like you.....rest up there over the rainbow bridge...:)

Oct. 11, 2007, 04:54 PM
Well since Monday night we have had Thunder every night, I bet they are running races at dusk at the Rainbow...Run Run Run..This is the sound of hooves galloping hard as they have not done in years! I hope they are well and happy......

this link has a really nice vieo of JH......

Oct. 12, 2007, 10:49 AM
Does anyone know if today's memorial service will be covered via one of the racing channels and/or on the internet? The KHP website doesn't elaborate much at all on the planned public service at 2pm EST.

Beaver Breeze
Oct. 12, 2007, 10:56 AM
Does anyone know if today's memorial service will be covered via one of the racing channels and/or on the internet? The KHP website doesn't elaborate much at all on the planned public service at 2pm EST.

It's next Friday.

Oct. 12, 2007, 11:17 AM
What a fabulous old guy and what a career.

I remember when the Breeder's Cup was in it's beginning years. He was entered, I don't remember the race but they talked about it as if he was just there to draw a crowd because he was getting older and couldn't be expected to win. Or keep up is what was implied. So they gave him lots of air time and talked about what a great horse he 'had' been.

When race time came he flat ran away from everybody. Eat my dust!!
It was wonderful to watch.

He will deservedly be remembered by race fans everywhere.

Oct. 12, 2007, 11:24 AM
From the Kentucky Horse Park website:

On behalf of John Nicholson and the Hall of Champions staff, we want to thank everyone for the wonderful outpouring of love and support for Thoroughbred racing legend, John Henry, and the caretakers he leaves behind. Already, we have received numerous calls and e-mails from caring fans and well-wishers along with tremendous media attention which John Henry most certainly deserved.

The Kentucky Horse Park will announce today that a public memorial service for John Henry will be held next week. The service will be held at the Hall of Champions at 2 pm on Friday, October 19. More details will be announced as they are determined.

Oct. 12, 2007, 11:30 AM
this link has a really nice vieo of JH......

Oh, thanks for this link! I seem to have an endless supply of tears to shed, remembering John. What a stirring tribute!

Oct. 12, 2007, 12:05 PM
It really chokes me up to know that this great champion truly KNEW how great he was and he was not only great but intelligent and didn't suffer fools (and many others) at all. I'm sure God gave him a "staff" in Heaven and whoever put his wings on had to watch their back, LOL! Run free, Big Guy -- you deserve the comforts and all the accolades -- there is a great emptiness here and we'll miss you!

Oct. 12, 2007, 01:25 PM
I see that the Blood Horse is planning a "commemorative issue." Does anybody know if this will be like the Barbaro special commemorative issue, with reprints of the actual BH stories from the issues over the years? I'd LOVE to see all BH stories on John Henry as they occurred in one spot. Might be a thick issue, though. Thicker than Barbaro. :) I'm sure John would get a kick out of that.

Or it could be something else entirely. Anyway, looks interesting.

Oct. 12, 2007, 05:42 PM
ReRun has a couple of touching tributes to John, as well as a recent photograph of him gnawing carrots.


Also, KHP has updated his page with more links and information, including a link to donate to a memorial planned by Old Friends.


khp vol
Oct. 12, 2007, 06:41 PM
As previously noted, John Henry's memorial service will be Friday, October 19 at 2 p.m. It will be at the Hall of Champions. Well-wishers may park in the main parking lot and shuttles will run from the Visitors Information Center to the Hall of Champions.
Volunteers will hand out souvenir copies of the Fred Stone print of John Henry as well as copies of the script used for John Henry at all the Hall of Champions shows over the years.
I haven't heard any estimates on what the attendance will be.

Oct. 13, 2007, 07:04 AM
:cry: Rest in Peace my dear friend, you will be missed by many. Glad I had the chance to see you again this year, and many wonderful memory's.

Oct. 16, 2007, 02:27 PM
I don't get HRTV but they are going to air a "Salute to John Henry" Wed Oct 17th (http://racing.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=41381) at 8pm EST. They did the "Standing Tall at 30-yrs old" special (which became a DVD) as well so they had much of his story already to go.

Also regarding the future documentary

There is a new version of the movie trailer from OpenSkyEntertainment (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e02EN1_h_Xo) - which is without use of The Who's 1978 song "Who Are You" song as a backdrop and a bit longer.

There is also the long tribute to John Henry aired Oct 13, 2007 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9Js3gMbDIs) at Oak Tree (Santa Anita) in between races. Sadly the audio was vastly reduced when the user transferred the live event to video.

Oct. 16, 2007, 10:40 PM
My husband Wayne and I made plans to come to Lexington in July. We were really hoping that we would be able to visit with John one last time. As cranky as he was known to be he came up and greeted Wayne when we were there in 2003.

Now intead of seeing John in person, we'll be attending his Memorial Service on Friday. This is very sad but it is nice that we know that he did not suffer too much. That is the "beauty" of owning pets and other like creatures as we can decide when it's too much for them to live in pain and sadly say goodbye to those animals we have had the priveledge of knowing and sharing their lives.

We'd be betting on John, too Glimmerglass said, for the winning spot at the Rainbow Bridge. As another poster so brilliantly stated "There is a new Sheriff in town." Heaven help Herman and Molly and all of our other pets who have gone before!

Oct. 18, 2007, 12:33 PM
According to KHP, HRTV will telecast the memorial service live at 2:00 pm local time tomorrow (19 Oct). It is expected to last about 30 minutes.


I don't get HRTV, but I suppose the coverage will increase the likelihood of catching it later on youtube.

Oct. 18, 2007, 12:48 PM
Thank you Thank you for reporting this-I'm setting my DVR now!

Oct. 19, 2007, 04:57 PM
Here's the BH coverage of the memorial service at KHP.


Editing to add more links to coverage:





The TB Times article has a video clip with some footage of the memorial service. It's a tearjerker.

Oct. 20, 2007, 01:10 PM
Inexpert at inserting hyperlinks, but the story is at DRF.com under "Breeding," which is pretty funny considering JH didn't! But anyway, here it is.

<<John Henry memorial attracts 200
LEXINGTON, Ky. - John Henry's memorial service took place at his graveside Friday at the Kentucky Horse Park, drawing about 200 people to the Hall of Champions where the Hall of Famer and five-time Eclipse Award winner had lived since 1985.

In a blustery autumn wind, some of the gelding's most prominent fans and some of his connections described him as an inspiration and an icon.

"We're talking about a horse - a horse who was able to capture the minds and hearts of people around the world, not just in the United States," said jockey Chris McCarron said of John Henry, who died Oct. 8 at the park at age 32. McCarron rode John Henry in the last 14 starts of the gelding's 83-race career.

Tom Levinson, the stepson of John Henry's last owner, Sam Rubin, recalled that his family "never really felt they were the owners of John Henry, only the caretakers."

Gesturing to the crowd, he added: "They felt that you were the owners of John Henry."

Park executive director John Nicholson, retired Keeneland chairman Ted Bassett, and former Kentucky governor Martha Layne Collins credited John Henry with elevating the park's stature.

Joe Tobich and his family, who came from Richmond, Va., for Keeneland's races and John Henry's memorial, attested to John Henry's power as a draw and inspiration.

"We've been coming here every year for the last six or seven years for the races, and we always spend one day at the Kentucky Horse Park," said Tobich, 59, a chemistry teacher who last visited John Henry in July. "We would always come see John Henry. He was a fabulous horse because of where he came from, common breeding, and his perseverance, his tenacity. He never gave up. That's why a lot of us love him, for what he taught us.

"I teach, and he taught me lessons. I'd like to give those lessons to my students, for them to work hard for what they can achieve if they put their minds to it."

John Henry's breeder, Verna Lehmann, stood at the edge of the crowd at the service. She confessed she still marvels at what her whimsical mating of Ole Bob Bowers and Once Double wrought.

"I think it's wonderful that people admire the little horse so much, because no one wanted him," said Lehmann, who remembered that she and her late husband Robert sent Once Double to Ole Bob Bowers partly because they felt bad the sire's book was so small.

"He was little. But he showed them he had the guts and the determination to race," Lehmann said.

"He was small, but I still cringe when people say he was an ugly horse," she added. "He had a beautiful body and a beautiful head, and he wasn't really that bad off in those knees. I didn't notice it, but when you have three veterinarians tell you he's never going to race, what do you do? We had 32 foals, and so we had to cull some. That's why he went to sale.

"I was at his euthanization," she added. "I was there when he came into the world, and I thought I should be there when he left. But that was hard to see."

After the service, visitors viewed John Henry's stall, where the display of flower arrangements and wreaths was so large its perfume wafted throughout the Hall of Champions. Nearby, a box of chocolate doughnuts from the Georgetown, Ky., bakery Frank's Donuts - labeled "John's favorites" - sat near a guestbook.

John Henry is buried near his former paddock, and the Old Friends equine retirement program is leading a fundraiser to erect a permanent memorial at the gelding's grave.>>

Oct. 20, 2007, 09:16 PM
Funny, Bloodhorse stated aprox. 500 attended; DRF says 200.....

Oct. 20, 2007, 09:30 PM
I will be returning to KHP this spring and it will surely be strange not seeing John..we have gone for several years and are used to seeing his face! and attitude!
RIP Dear John Henry.....

Mar. 24, 2008, 09:00 AM
For those who may be at the Horse Park this spring for the Rolex 3-Day, Keeneland, etc ...

TB Times 3-21-08 "Work begins on John Henry memorial statue" (http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/national-news/2008/March/21/Work-begins-on-John-Henry-memorial-statue.aspx)

Shelley Hunter, the executive director of the American Academy of Equine Art, is creating the sculpture to honor John Henry, who was euthanized on October at age 32.

Hunter’s studio is located at the Horse Park. Visitors can watch the statue being created on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

“It is a unique opportunity for the public to watch a historically significant statue being created,” Bill Oster, chairman of the John Henry Memorial committee, said. “Shelley Hunter is a world-renowned equine sculptor.”

Oster said plans call for the sculpture to be finished by the end of May and it will take most of the summer to cast it in bronze. An unveiling is scheduled for October 8—the one-year anniversary of John Henry’s death.