Churchill Downs' John Asher was named 2005 Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners Warner L. Jones, Jr. Horseman of the Year. Asher will be honored by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners (KTO) at their annual award dinner Nov. 11 at the Kentucky Derby Museum.
Since 1988, the KTO has presented the Warner L. Jones, Jr. Horseman of the Year Award to a member of the racing industry that displays the spirit and passion for the sport that was exhibited by Jones, the famed Kentucky breeder, owner and former Churchill Downs Chairman of the Board for whom the award is named.
Asher's love affair with racing began in 1967 as he watched the Kentucky Derby victory by Proud Clarion on television with his mother in their Grayson County, Ky home.
From that time, John was destined for a career in Thoroughbred racing, but it would take nearly 30 years before he would secure his dream job of working for Churchill Downs.
Following graduation from Western Kentucky University, he returned to Grayson County, but moved to Louisville in the Fall 1981 to take a job in radio news.
He covered his first Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in 1982 and soon began earning awards for his coverage of Thoroughbred racing and breaking news. John has earned an impressive five Eclipse Awards for "Outstanding National Radio Coverage of Thoroughbred Racing." His reporting on other issues earned recognition that included a National Headliner Award, a Scripps-Howard Award, and honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio & Television News Directors Association and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association. The Associated Press honored Asher seven times as the "Best Reporter" in Kentucky Large Market Radio.
In 1997, his love of racing led to his move to Churchill Downs where he oversees communications and public relations efforts for the racetrack.
John devotes the same tireless efforts to the community as he does to his racing profession. Asher serves on the board of trustees of WLKY-32's Spirit of Louisville Foundation, which oversees the annual Bell Awards; the board of directors of the Western Kentucky University Alumni Association, the Catholic Education Foundation and GuardiaCare; and the board of trustees of Louisville's Presentation Academy. He also serves as vice president for nominating and recruitment on the board of directors of the Kentuckiana Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International and was honored by the chapter as its "Volunteer of the Year" for 2004.