I am here for the Breeder's Cup, so a trip to Arlington Park is my favorite thing. It is really wonderful, and you can bet on the races. Arlington Park burned a few years back, and it was in disrepair, but new ownership has revivied this great place. A fun way to spend the afternoon. Picking winners, and cashing tickets!!!
John Henry: Horse of Steel
Please click on photo
Each time I attend Arlington International Race Track, I go to see the huge bronze scupture of the famous "Arlington Million winner, John Henry, in his race against The Bart". It's an impressive piece of art, even if you don't know the story behind it.
The scupture shows JOHN HENRY "edging out" THE BART in the FIRST ARLINGTON MILLION in 1981.
John Henry is aptly named for the legendary "steel driver who would not give up". And the horse was literally the same, a "Horse of Steel".
John Henry had what is called "calf knees" and came from an unimpressive breeding line. Yet, in his seven-year career, this mighty bay gelding won 39 races and earned more than six and a half million dollars.
After going from owner to owner, John Henry was purchased by Sam Ruben, who kept this incredible horse for the rest of his career. The horse did better in longer races, and after many successes in "cheap" races, he finally ran in a "grade I event and won
1981 was a great year for this gigantic gelding. In that first Arlington Million, with famed Bill Shoemaker riding him, John Henry appeared to be hopelessly beaten when he slipped near the start of the race. However, he had an amazing closing drive and managed to get his nose in front of the great horse, The Bart, just in time for the victory. He went on in 1981 to win many more big races (8 wins), and was rewarded with his first Horse of the Year title.
In 1982, John Henry was injured and only ran six times. In 1983, he had a new rider, Chris McCarron who rode him for the rest of his career. This time in the Arlington Million, John Henry came in second, missing the win by just a neck.
At the age of nine, in 1984, the "Horse of Steel" again won the Arlington Million in a strong field. He made the race look easy by winning by a length and three quarters! Thus, he was the oldest horse to be honored as the Horse of the Year.
John Henry was retired in 1985, becoming "a pensioner" at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and he attracted thousands of visitors each year.
I feel so fortunate to have seen John Henry race twice at Arlington International Race Track.
In 1990, this mighty bay gelding was inducted into the Hall of Fame as was his jockey, Ron McAnally!
Now, you see why I always visit the gigantic sculpture of The Bart and John Henry (horse of steel) battling to the end in the First Arlington Million Race!
Breeder's Cup 2002 at Arlington Park
Azeri leads Imperial Getsure as they come out ot the backstrecth and make the final turn. Take Charge Lady is a distant third and Farda Amiga (3) starts to make her move in the Breeder's Cup Distaff. Bring your Racing Form, and some money. Arlington in late October can be chilly, so bring warm clothes or a blanket.
Breeder's Cup -- 2002 -- Arlington Park
"The Breeder's Cup, 2002"
1984 was the first Breeder's cup, now billed The World Thoroughbred Championships. This event moves each year and 2002 is the first time at Arlington Park. There are 8 Grade 1 stakes races! Even without the allure of the Breeder's cup, visit the horse park, it is beautiful, and you might make some money!
"William Dunton -- Founder"
Arlington Heights is a wonderful city outside of Chicago. There are pretty buildings and parks, and plenty of diversions to keep you busy. Good restaurants, shopping, parks, horse races, and a quick trip into Chicago.
I was lucky enough to be here in late October, and the trees are in their autumn spendor. Red, yellow, gold, green, it is nature's fireworks.