As you have heard by now, John Asher, a man widely acknowledged as the preeminent Kentucky Derby historian and the face of Churchill Downs, died suddenly Monday while on vacation with his family. The news sent a shock wave across our community. A true gentleman, his title as Churchill Downs' Vice President of Racing Communications barely hinted at John's encyclopedic knowledge and true love of thoroughbred racing. John was an entertaining speaker and probably never turned down an invitation to talk about the Derby or horse racing unless he was already booked to speak.
I knew John pretty well, but it was on a professional level. We didn't hang around together socially, yet every time I saw him, no matter how busy he was, even during Derby week, he always took a moment and made me feel like he was glad to see me. Everyone I've talked to this week who knew or worked with John said the same thing.
No matter how well we do our job, deep down we all know we're replaceable. The world won't stop when we quit, retire or pass on, but in John Asher's case, I'm afraid no one will ever be able to completely replace what he offered. His death will leave a hole, not just at the track but also in our community and across the entire racing world.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my Point of View.
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