John Henry garnered nearly 4,000 votes in a poll held by www.kentucky.com and the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, narrowly defeating pastor Jon Weece to win the "Most Intriguing Kentucky Newsmaker of 2007," it was announced Dec. 28.
Nearly 11,000 votes were cast in the online poll, with John Henry and Weece collecting more than two-thirds of the total. Weece, an unorthodox senior minister at Southland Christian Church in Central Kentucky, wound up with 3,152 votes. New University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie was a distant third.
John Henry, one of Thoroughbred racing’s most popular horses of all time, was euthanized Oct. 8 at the age of 32. He lived at the Kentucky Horse Park since 1985, providing thousands of fans every year with the opportunity to honor the champion. Nearly 500 people attended John Henry’s memorial service Oct. 19.
Bred in Kentucky in 1975, John Henry won 39 of 83 starts in his remarkable career, earning 16 grade I victories and more than $6.5 million. He won seven Eclipse Awards, including Horse of the Year honors twice, and overcame many obstacles in his career.
For most of his racing career, John Henry was owned by Sam and Dorothy Rubin’s Dotsam Stable and trained by Ron McAnally.