09/18/2007 12:00AM

John Henry improving from dehydration

EmailJohn Henry, the racing icon and two-time Horse of the Year, appears to be recovering from a long bout with dehydration that began in July, his handler at the Kentucky Horse Park said Tuesday.

John Henry, a 32-year-old Ole Bob Bowers gelding, began to show signs of dehydration when central Kentucky experienced temperatures near 100 degrees in July, according to the Hall of Champions barn manager, Cathy Roby. He has undergone intravenous fluid therapy several times, as recently as last week, and Roby said Horse Park veterinarians test John Henry's blood at least every other day to monitor his overall health.

"As of today, he had his breakfast this morning, he is eating, and he's drinking a lot of water," Roby said Tuesday afternoon. As of today, he doesn't need to go back on fluids.

"In July he was having some problems. But now the weather is really nice, so that's helped."

John Henry has not been shown in the Hall of Champions show for a year, but Roby said he is still available for park visitors to see in his stall.

"We keep the back door of his stall open so he can go out in his paddock as he pleases," Roby said.

John Henry was champion grass horse four times, in 1980, 1981, 1983, and 1984, and champion older horse in 1981. He earned his Horse of the Year titles in 1981 and 1984. When he retired in 1985, he was the world's richest Thoroughbred with $6,591,860 in earnings. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.