Colonel John Contest Proves Popular

The "Colonel John" winner is a colt out of the Hennessy mare Gabby's Hen.

Gary Smith of English Range Farm in Ocala, Fla., won the Colonel John First Recruits contest after his weanling colt – “Recruit No. 10” – had received the most votes at the close of the contest Nov. 1. WinStar Farm, the Versailles, Ky., nursery where grade I winner Colonel John stands, awarded Smith top prize of a free 2012 breeding season back to Colonel John. WinStar is owned by Kenny Troutt.

“We are honored and thankful to have so many people vote for our weanling,” said Smith. “We really like this colt, but there were several really good foals to compete against. Colonel John is a very nice stallion, and we’re looking forward to breeding back to him in 2012.”

The winner, a bay colt out of the Hennessy mare Gabby's Hen, received 72 more votes than the other weanlings to win the “Final Four” round of the contest, which started Aug. 15 with 32 panel-selected weanlings from the first crop of Colonel John. The contest was conducted via Facebook, and the contestants progressed through four rounds over the last 2 1/2 months. It generated more than 30,000 unique visitors and 10,000 votes from 109 different countries around the world.

“The Colonel John First Recruits contest was a huge success,” said Robert Hammond, stallion director at WinStar. “We were thrilled with how much response we received by both the weanling owners and fan voters. We would like to thank everyone who participated, and we look forward to seeing Colonel John's first foals at public auction.”

Recruit No. 11 was the runner-up, followed by No. 30 and No. 15 in third and fourth, respectively. To see the results, go to