Omar Valdez and Hugo Aguilar of Downey Tile installing the base for the life size bronze statue of John Henry in the Santa Anita paddock gardens.
Amidst all of the preparations for opening day of Santa Anita's 75th Anniversary Meet, work is under way to prepare the site for a life-sized bronze statue of champion John Henry near the Kingsbury Fountain in the paddock gardens.
The bronze will be unveiled by his long-time Hall of Fame trainer, Ron McAnally, on opening day, Saturday, Dec. 26, following the third race.
Commissioned by Santa Anita and Oak Tree Racing Association, the bronze was sculpted by artist Nina Kaiser and stands at John Henry’s height, 15.2 hands. Kaiser began work on the project more than two years ago following the death of the great horse at the age of 32.
Beloved by California racing fans, John Henry was the first two-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap, in 1981 and 1982. When retired in 1985, John Henry was racing’s all-time leading money earner, with $6,591,860.