LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Churchill Downs Racetrack will host a public ceremony to dedicate and unveil commissioned statues that honor the late John Asher and Col. Matt Winn. The statues, sculpted by local artist Raymond Graf, depict Asher sitting on a horseshoe bench and talking with Winn, who oversaw the early growth of the Kentucky Derby into America’s greatest race. The statues are positioned on the north side of the saddling paddock in the Plaza area and guests will be able to take photos on the bench in the shadow of the iconic Twin Spires. Churchill Downs officials, Graf and members of the Asher and Winn families will be on hand. The general public is invited to attend the ceremony free of charge.
When: Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at 11 a.m. EDT
Where: Please enter Churchill Downs through the Paddock Gate (media also may enter through the Executive Gate if desired). Free first-come, first-serve parking is available to media and guests in the Red and White parking lots off Central Ave. and Kentucky Derby Dr. There will be reserved seating for family and friends and a dedicated area for media with a riser and mult-box for audio.
John Asher (photo courtesy Churchill Downs)
• For more than 40 years, Asher was the voice and face of horse racing and radio broadcasting in Kentucky. He joined the Churchill Downs family in 1997 and served as Vice President of Racing Communications until his untimely passing on Aug. 27, 2018, at age 62. Asher, who always spoke of his hero Col. Matt Winn, once said, “When I get to the great day, I would be awfully happy if someone said, ‘Matt Winn would’ve loved this guy.’”
•Winn, who served as general manager and later president of Churchill Downs from 1914 until his passing at age 88 in 1949, was the driving force in the development of the Downs and a tireless promoter of his beloved Kentucky Derby.
• Opening day of the 12-date September Meet is Thursday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. Racing will take place Thursday-Sunday through Oct. 3.
• Opening day is the first of three Twilight Thursdays, the popular promotion that showcases $1 Blue Moon drafts, $1 select domestic beers, food trucks and live music on the Plaza Stage. Gates open at 4 p.m. and the first of eight races is 5 p.m. General admission is $5 and reserved seating options start at $12.
• Saturday, Sept. 18 is Downs After Dark presented by Budweiser. Louisville Live, the University of Louisville’s annual preseason basketball event, will be featured between races throughout the night. Five of the 11 nighttime races are stakes events, including the $300,000 Iroquois for 2-year-olds that launches the 2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Churchill Downs Press Release
Top photo: Col. Matt Winn (photo courtesy Churchill Downs)