We are saddened by the passing of former Ky. Gov. Brereton Jones

September 18, 2023

Lucy Jones, Bret Jones, Brereton Jones, Libby Jones. (courtesy Airdrie Stud)

Statements from the Gov. Beshear, Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland and Kentucky HBPA via releases

Brereton Chandler Jones was born June 27, 1939, in Ohio and raised in West Virginia.

Jones became the youngest-ever member of the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1964. Two years later, he was chosen as the Republican floor leader. In 1968, he decided to leave politics and focus on his real estate business. 

He married Elizabeth “Libby” Lloyd in 1970 and in 1972, the family moved to historic Airdrie Farm, Libby’s family estate in Woodford County, Kentucky. There, Jones founded Airdrie Stud.

Jones changed his party affiliation to Democratic in 1975. He was appointed to various boards and commissions by Kentucky governors John Y. Brown, Jr. and Martha Layne Collins.

Jones served as the 50th lieutenant governor of Kentucky and from 1991 to 1995, he was the commonwealth’s 58th governor.  

Following his term in office, Jones founded the Kentucky Equine Education Project.

Brereton Jones was 84 at the time of his death.

We at Past The Wire extend out deepest sympathies and condolences to the Jones Family.

—Editor, Past The Wire

“The real secret to our success in international racing and breeding is rooted in the experience, resourcefulness and talent of our dedicated staff.” 

— Brereton Jones, Airdrie Stud

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear via X (formerly Twitter), Monday

“I was sad to learn that former Governor and Lt. Gov. Brereton Jones has passed away. Gov. Jones was a dedicated leader and a distinguished thoroughbred owner who worked to strengthen Kentucky for our families. Please join Britainy and me in praying for Libby and his family,” 


Statement On Passing Of Former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones

Founder of Airdrie Stud was also Founding Member of Breeders’ Cup World Championships

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Breeders’ Cup Limited and the Thoroughbred racing community are profoundly saddened by the passing of former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones.

A Founding Member of the Breeders’ Cup, Governor Jones served as Treasurer on the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors from 1984-86 before transitioning to Director from 1988-89, during which he also served as Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky. He was then elected Governor of Kentucky, a term he fulfilled with distinction from 1991-1995. Following his term as Governor, during which he materially advanced the Thoroughbred industry in Kentucky and abroad for generations to come, he returned to the Breeders’ Cup as a Director from 1996-2005. His support for the organization remained unwavering through the following years as he continued to serve as a Member of the Breeders’ Cup.

Governor Jones, along with his wife Libby, founded Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky., a highly successful Thoroughbred breeding operation now managed by their son, Bret Jones. Seventeen horses bred by Governor Jones participated in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, including Carl Pollard’s Caressing, winner of the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill Downs. His homebred Proud Spell finished second in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) before launching a 3-year-old campaign that saw her win the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), Kentucky Oaks (G1), Delaware Oaks (G2), and Alabama Stakes (G1) en route to champion 3-year-old filly honors in 2008.

“Governor Jones’ passion for Thoroughbred racing and breeding was second to none,” said Drew Fleming, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Limited. “Not only did he position Breeders’ Cup for long-term success as a Founding Member, but as Governor of Kentucky he tirelessly promoted the Thoroughbred industry while simultaneously building a legacy that will live on through Airdrie Stud. We are forever grateful for his contributions to our sport and send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”


Keeneland Statement on the Passing of Former Kentucky Governor and Airdrie Stud Founder Brereton C. Jones

The following is a statement from Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin:

“Brereton Jones was widely respected for his leadership and integrity, serving the Thoroughbred industry as a statesman and visionary and the Commonwealth of Kentucky as Governor and Lieutenant Governor. His passion for horses and the land knew no bounds and culminated in his beloved Airdrie Stud, which for more than 50 years has been one of the world’s foremost breeding operations. He believed in racing and worked tirelessly to improve our sport as a founding member of Breeders’ Cup and the Kentucky Equine Education Project, a member of The Jockey Club and by championing formation of the Kentucky Breeders’ Incentive Fund. 

“At Keeneland, we will remember Gov. Jones fondly as a breeder, owner, consignor and buyer of the highest caliber, and for being a valued member of our Advisory Board. We will celebrate his life and contributions, and the tremendous legacy he leaves behind.

“On behalf of Keeneland, we extend our deepest condolences to Gov. Jones’ wife, Libby; his children, Bret and Lucy; his grandchildren B, Jack, Thomas and Wende; and the entire Airdrie Stud family.”


Statement from Kentucky HBPA President Rick Hiles on the passing of former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones: 

“Brereton Jones was a true champion for the horse-racing industry at all levels for decades. Yes, he was an owner and breeder himself, but he also understood how vital the breeding and racing industries are for the economy and tourism throughout the state and not just Central Kentucky and Louisville.

“Gov. Jones served the state of Kentucky well. He was a great horseman, was great for the industry and bred and raced a lot of great horses. It was so fitting that he won the Kentucky Oaks three times —like a well-deserved lifetime achievement award that kept multiplying. On a personal note, we were longtime friends – I even trained a horse or two for him. He was just so friendly and respectful of everyone at the racetrack, whether they ran the track or mucked out stalls. He will be sorely missed.”

@jonathanstettin What a surprise….thank you—- thank you….I can say I was part of history.

John Ball (@P3Tacco) View testimonials