Blanton to Succeed Williams at Keeneland

He has been named the company's director of communications and marketing.

Edited Keeneland release

Keeneland president Nick Nicholson Oct. 7 announced that Jay Blanton has been named the company’s director of communications and marketing.

Blanton, 41, is currently communications director for Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. In that capacity, Blanton oversees media relations, speechwriting, and scheduling, and serves as a member of the governor’s senior staff.

“Jay is a highly respected communications professional and we are excited he is joining our team at both a pivotal and challenging moment for our industry,” Nicholson said. “The idea of communicating a message and supporting a brand and its values has never been more important. In today’s marketplace, articulating a clear, resonant message is a complex and profoundly important undertaking.

"Jay will be joining a talented team of individuals as Keeneland seeks to continue and expand its role as a leader in all aspects of the Thoroughbred industry.”

Before joining the Beshear administration, Blanton was executive director for public relations and marketing for the University of Kentucky. For nearly four years, Blanton oversaw media relations for the university and A.B. Chandler Hospital. In addition, he helped lead the development and implementation of UK’s award-winning branding campaign.

During a nearly 20-year communications career, Blanton has represented several corporate clients for Kentucky’s two largest public relations firms and written for several newspapers and the Associated Press.

“Keeneland is an iconic brand that is fundamentally important to both the Commonwealth and our signature industry,” Blanton said. “I’m honored to join such an outstanding team as we endeavor to enhance the Keeneland brand and protect an industry that is so important to Kentucky.”

Blanton will begin his new role in early November. At Keeneland, he will oversee the company’s communications and marketing strategy, including media relations, advertising and marketing, community relations, and consumer and industry outreach.

Blanton will succeed Jim Williams, Keeneland’s long-time communications director, who in August announced plans to retire at the end of 2009 after a 38-year career.