The horse racing community has lost its greatest ambassador. John Asher died of an apparent heart attack this morning while traveling with his family in Orlando. He was 62.
He officially held the title vice president of racing communications at Churchill Downs, but Asher was much more than that. He was the face of the Kentucky Derby. Asher could handicap with the hardcore horse racing fan and make the event appeal to even the most casual viewer.
Asher’s booming voice and friendly face became a staple in the city of Louisville since he assumed his role with Churchill Downs in 1999. You’d be hard-pressed to find one person who can say a bad thing about the Leitchfield native who won five Eclipse Awards as a journalist before he officially called Churchill Downs home.
In the sport of kings, he was a giant in the community. The Kentucky Derby will not be the same without John Asher.
For more, read Eric Crawford’s poignant salute to the life of John Asher.