The "Real" Colonel John
Colonel John carries special legacy for namesake, Casners
Colonel John Geider
Colonel John met his human namesake, Colonel John Geider at Churchill Downs and promptly bit him on the hand.
John Geider, a United States Army colonel and close friend of Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt, had never seen the Santa
Anita Derby (G1) winner in the flesh until two days before the Tiznow
colt's engagement as the probable second choice in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Geider was deployed in Iraq when Casner and his wife, Susan, named
Colonel John. They had been waiting for just the right colt to honor
They chose the Tiznow colt out of Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman, a
broodmare who holds a special place in the heart of Susan Casner. The
Casners bought her privately after she failed to meet her reserve in the
2001 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
"It wasn't my intention to buy her, but she said 'Susan, here I am,'
and I had to buy her," Susan Casner said. "I always wanted her to have a
colt to honor [Geider]."
Geider knows the Casners through Troutt, who hired him in 2006 to
work for Excel Communications in risk management and security. In time,
Geider and Troutt became close friends beyond their professional
relationship, which continues to this day.
Geider, 52, even worked on racing and breeding matters when Troutt
and Casner first purchased Prestonwood Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, in
2001 and renamed it WinStar Farms.
"Mr. Troutt would ask me, 'Go do some statistical analysis on some
horse, some trainer,' and now the staff is such that he doesn't need me
to do anything but enjoy it," Geider said.
Geider also became a close friend of the Casners. He was a source of
comfort when their 23-year-old daughter, Karri, was killed in a bombing
in Bali, Indonesia, in 2002.
Understandably, Geider and the Casners prefer not to talk
specifically about the role he played in dealing with that very personal
"I helped them as best that I could," Geider said. "What I was able
to do was give them an idea of what the situation in that environment
might be like and what they perhaps would be facing."
Susan Casner and Geider both emphasized that Colonel John's name is not solely an individual recognition.
"It's a way of thanking all the servicemen for serving their country
and protecting us," Casner said. "9-11 is something that I will never
forget. We all have friends that have lost loved ones in the war. It's
to honor all of them and to thank them."
Geider said he hopes that message is heard throughout the world. Geider returned to
active duty for about six months in Iraq in 2004 and '05 and remains in
the Army Reserves.