JOHN HENRY's 1982 Santa Anita Handicap (Entire Televised Broadcast of 3/7/82)
Although Laffit Pincay, Jr., guided JOHN HENRY to win the '81 Big 'Cap, he was aboard PERRAULT, a superior English-bred turf specialist trained by Charlie Whittingham in the 1982 Santa Anita Handicap and actually beat JOHN HENRY ridden by Bill Shoemaker to the wire finishing first by a scant nose. PERRAULT, carrying 126 pounds, drifted out considerably in the final furlong. JOHN HENRY, shouldering 130 pounds, raced to the outside of PERRAULT down the stretch. After a lengthy inquiry into the stretch run complete with several head-on views from the race showing PERRAULT bearing out, JOHN HENRY is awarded the victory after PERRAULT is taken down by disqualification and placed second in one of the most controversial take-downs in Santa Anita history. The Daily Racing Forms' official chart states, "PERRAULT was disqualified and placed second for impeding JOHN HENRY."
After a fourth-place finish in the Hollywood Turf Cup in early December of 1981, JOHN HENRY was given a rest, the plan being to attack the Big 'Cap without the benefit of a prep race. Charlie Whittingham had won the 1973 race with COUGAR II off workouts alone, but no one could remember anyone else being so bold.
JOHN HENRY rested at a training center for about a month before he was returned to McAnally's barn in early January, two months before the race. He then went through eight workouts, and when the weights came out, he was given 130 pounds, as much as he had ever carried.
To get JOHN HENRY ready for 12 furlongs, McAnally worked him between races at 1- 1/8 miles on the grass, and he was timed in 1:47 2/5, faster than he had won some of his races.
Besides the horse being a year older and the increased weight, the other difference was that his jockey was Bill Shoemaker. Pincay, after having won five of seven races with JOHN HENRY, had been under suspension the previous July and Shoemaker took over for a victory in a race at Belmont Park. Pincay and his agent, George O'Bryan, thought they would regain the mount after that race, but Rubin decided to stay with Shoemaker. "At the time, I felt that Shoemaker was the athlete of the century," Rubin said. "It was a hard decision, but JOHN was our only horse, and we didn't know how long the party was going to last. We had to do what we thought was right. And if it made us look selfish or self-centered, well, that's the way it had to be."
The 1982 Big 'Cap brought Pincay and Shoemaker together for a grueling stretch drive marked by controversy. Pincay, aboard PERRAULT on the inside, repeatedly whipped his horse from the left side, and they drifted toward the middle of the track - carrying JOHN HENRY and Shoemaker with them. At the wire, PERRAULT, under 126 pounds, was a nose in front in 1:59.
Shoemaker didn't have to claim foul, though. By the time he returned with the horse, the stewards - Pete Pedersen, Hubert Jones and the late Alfred Shelhamer - had flashed the "inquiry" sign. While 72,752 fans waited, the judges reviewed the re-runs and McAnally and Rubin watched a head-on replay of the stretch run. "I thought (PERRAULT's) number would come down," McAnally said. "Laffit using his left hand that much played a part in it. I couldn't remember ever seeing Laffit hit a horse so much in such a short stretch."
PERRAULT was dropped to second place, only the second disqualification in the history of the Big 'Cap, and JOHN HENRY's victory was worth $4.60 to his backers.
"JOHN HENRY's the real favorite around here," Whittingham said bitterly after the race. "I think that if it was any other horse, my horse wouldn't have come down."
Three weeks later, PERRAULT won the San Luis Rey Stakes, with JOHN HENRY running third. But Whittingham's horse still hadn't prevented JOHN HENRY from doing what no horse - then and now - has ever done in the Santa Anita Handicap.
The full field of horses who competed in this now legendary race included:
IT'S THE ONE
SCORE TWENTY FOUR
KING GO GO
In addition, a future Hall-of-Fame fresh face is guest analyst for the broadcast: trainer D. Wayne Lukas making this an instant classic - add it to your collection today!
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|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|