He’s not known as being a very amicable horse. In fact, John Henry is liable to bite the hand that feeds him, literally, at his home in Kentucky Horse Park. But the cantankerous old man will have to accept another horse beside him in the history books. A nearly black colt with a broad blaze named Lava Man won the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap on March 3. It was the second consecutive Big Cap win for Lava Man, making him only the third horse in 70 years—following John Henry and Milwaukee Brew—to win back-to-back editions of the famed Grade I stakes race. Two-time Horse of the Year and Racing Hall of Famer John Henry accomplished the feat in 1981 and ’82. Milwaukee Brew matched it in 2002 and ’03.
“It’s unbelievable (to rank with John Henry and Milwaukee Brew),” Lava Man’s trainer Doug O’Neill said. “We’re going to celebrate this moment.”