For more than 20 years, he was known as the man who knew just about any or everything when it came to the Kentucky Derby and thoroughbred racing. He was an ambassador for the Historic Churchill Downs Racetrack and one of the friendliest people you would ever meet.
On Monday, a section of Central Avenue, in front of the place where he loved to work, was honorarily named “John S. Asher Way” for the late Vice President of Racing Communications who passed away in August of 2018.
“John Asher was a stranger to no one and if you had a question about the history of the Kentucky Derby, he had the answer,” said Councilman Kevin Triplett (D-15). “It is fitting that during this week we honor him, and my hope is these signs will remind everyone who comes to Churchill Downs about a man who was just as important to racing as any trainer, jockey or owner.”
“John’s Churchill Downs’ family misses him dearly on a daily basis, and even more so during Kentucky Derby Week – his favorite time of the year,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “John was an icon in horse racing and our community. To have a stretch of Central Avenue named ‘John S. Asher Way’ adjacent to his beloved Churchill Downs and the iconic Twin Spires is an incredible honor and a fitting tribute to a great man.”
“John Asher represented Churchill Downs, the Derby and Oaks, Louisville and Kentucky to the entire world with intelligence, charm, enthusiasm and compassion,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “This is a fitting tribute to this wonderful man who was a racing legend and community leader.” Councilman Triplett sponsored the Resolution calling for the honorary street signs. On Thursday, April 25th, The Louisville Metro Council gave unanimous approval to placing of the signs along Central Avenue to be known as “John S. Asher Way” at the intersections of Fourth Street, Ninth Street and Taylor Boulevard.
Churchill Downs paid for a fourth sign that was presented to John’s wife, Dee Asher at an unveiling ceremony held Monday at the new Infield Gate to the track.
Asher was born in Leitchfield, Kentucky in 1955. He graduated with a degree in Journalism from Western Kentucky University. Asher was an award-winning radio journalist at WHAS -AM and WAVE -AM. As a broadcaster, it was horse racing where he showed his greatest talents and skills in communication as a five-time Eclipse Award Winner for Outstanding National Radio Coverage of Thoroughbred Racing.
He joined Churchill Downs in 1997 and then became Vice President of Racing Communications at Churchill Downs in 1999. He was well known and loved around Louisville and the United States for his unbelievable knowledge of the History of the Kentucky Derby and horse racing in general.