John Henry, the marvelous old gelding being readied for another campaign at age 10, has been voted an Eclipse Award as horse of the year for 1984.
History's richest race horse, with earnings of $6,587,947, beat out Slew o' Gold in voting conducted by the Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turfwriters Association. The voting was announced at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner in Los Angeles.
Earlier, John Henry, owned by Sam Rubin, was named the 1984 turf champion. It was the fourth time in five years he has won that award.
Other Eclipse winners honored Friday night included Pat Day, jockey; Jack Van Berg, trainer; 16-year-old Wesley Ward, apprentice jockey; John Franks, owner; Claiborne Farm, breeder, and C.V. Whitney, who received a special award for years of distinguished service to racing.
The honorees also included the divisional winners. Two were honored posthumously -- Swale, the top 3-year-old colt, who died at Belmont Park June 9, a week after winning the Belmont Stakes, and Eillo, the top sprinter, who died of colic in December. The others were Chief's Crown, 2-year-old colt; Outstandingly, 2-year-old filly; Life's Magic, 3-year-old filly; Princess Rooney, older filly or mare; Royal Heroine, female turf horse, and Flatterer, steeplechase horse.