McAnally gives John Henry the title of grass court
History will be revisited on Saturday, October 1 at Santa Anita, when Hall of Fame coach Ron McAnally will be on hand to hand out the trophy for the race named in honor of his superstar pupil. himself, the legendary two-time horse of the Hall of Fame the year John Henry retired at the age of nine in 1984 as the race’s all-time top earner. The $200,000 John Henry Field Championship Series II, for kids ages 3 and up, will be contested at a quarter-mile distance on Santa Anita’s Camino Real.
McAnally, one of racing’s most beloved figures and a member of the racing’s Hall of Fame since 1990, will forever be associated with the rugged man of color, who has been recognized as a bystander. he cared for at the end of the age of 4 in the fall of 1979 in Santa Anita.
Primarily racing east through his first 38 starts, John Henry actually made his Southern California debut at the Santa Anita Oaks Meet in his 28th start, on October 8, 1978. Digged. Created at the time by Robert Donato, John Henry, a flying diminutive with a bonsai temperament, third run was beaten half-length with a 2-1 favorite under Chuck Baltazar in the Volante handicap. 3rd place at 1 1/8 mile on grass.
McAnally took over as head coach the following year, putting “John” in second place behind Darrel McHargue in Division II Carlton F. Burke Handicap at 1 1/4 mile on the field on October 14. in 1979.
With two wins in his career before going to McAnally, John Henry, who was tricked on March 9, 1975, by Ole Bob Bowers and got out of Double Jay mare Once Double. In the second warm-up for McAnally, he will take the first of what will be a staggering 27 bets in his next 44 starts, as he splits the Henry P. Russell 3 1/4 with a 3-5 favorite on November 5, 1979.
In a nationally televised age-old race that has cemented McAnally’s status as one of America’s top regulars, John Henry just won the first Class I Arlington Million Stakes award by nose with Bill Shoemaker on August 30, 1981. First Two-time Santa Anita Class I Handicap winner, Big ‘Cap winners in 1981 and 82, John Henry will be awarded Under Horse of the Year. McAnally’s steady leadership in both 1981 and 1984.
In the final of his career, he marched to victory 1 3/8 miles on grass under Chris McCarron in the Scotch Handicap Class I Ballentine match at the Meadowlands on 13 October. 1984, retired as the all-time top earner with $6,597,947 from a total of 83-39-15-9. Then the boy was voted the first nine-year-old to win the top title in the racing season.
In addition to Horse of the Year, John Henry won five more Eclipses with McAnally, the reigning Court Horse champion in 1980, 81, 83 & 84, as well as the Older Men’s Champion in 1984.
McAnally, who regularly visited John Henry at the Kentucky Horse Park until his death at the age of 32 on October 8, 2007, was elected a three-time American Eclipse Award Champion Trainer, at the 1981, 1991 & 92.
With 2,592 career wins, McAnally is fourth on Santa Anita’s all-time win list with 113 plus money wins and also fourth all-time at Santa Anita behind colleagues Bobby Frankel, Charlie Whittingham and Bob Baffert, with 709 races won.
A Laffit Pincay Award winner, Jr. for a life of high integrity and decades of long service for last August’s race at Del Mar, McAnally, who turned 90 on 11 July, now has seven horses in training. practice at The Great Race Place. He will be accompanied in John Henry Winner’s Circle by his wife Debbie along with a number of close friends and longtime racing associates.
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