02/22/2007 12:00AM

John Henry party in works


Two-time Horse of the Year and five-time champion John Henry is nearing his 32nd birthday, and the Kentucky Horse Park is planning a party for him.

An Ole Bob Bowers gelding, John Henry already is 32 by The Jockey Club standards, having reached the age on the traditional Jan. 1, when the breed registry considers all Thoroughbreds a year old. But his actual birthday is March 9. The Kentucky Horse Park will host a public birthday party for John Henry that day at 1 p.m. at the park's Hall of Champions, where he lives and is a fan favorite.

"Again this year," said the park's executive director, John Nicholson, "we ask that John Henry's fans honor his life and achievements by making a donation to an equine rescue organization."

John Henry won 39 of 83 starts, including 30 stakes, and was Horse of the Year in 1981 and 1984 He was turf champion in 1980, 1981, 1983, and 1984, and champion older horse in 1981.