Former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones, known for his contributions to thoroughbred horse racing, dead at 84

 September 19, 2023

A former Republican politician turned Democrat who served a single term as governor but is arguably more well-known for his contributions to the thoroughbred horse racing industry has passed away.

Former Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones has died at the age of 84, according to the state's current governor and multiple professional organizations with which Jones was involved, local NBC affiliate LEX18 reported on Monday.

Jones, who leaves behind his wife Elizabeth "Libby" Lloyd and two adult children, Bret and Lucy, served as an elected leader of Kentucky during the late 1980s until the mid-90s, after which he focused his attention on growing his own successful horse farm and bolstering the equine breeding and racing industry in the Bluegrass State and beyond.

A "dedicated" and "distinguished" leader and horse breeder

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear tweeted 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."

He added, "The family has asked for privacy, but more information and a statement will be shared in the coming days."

Born in Ohio but raised in West Virginia, where he briefly served as a Republican state lawmaker, Jones moved to Kentucky in the early 1970s and established the eventually internationally recognized Airdrie Stud Farm to raise horses. However, he also remained engaged in politics.

Jones was elected in 1987 to serve as Kentucky's lieutenant governor and was then elected in 1991 as governor, where one of his most significant accomplishments was the passage of a constitutional amendment that allowed elected officials to serve consecutive terms in office, though he himself only served a single term before returning to his horse farm.

Known for his contributions to horse racing

According to BloodHorse Magazine, Jones, who passed away following an unspecified "lengthy illness," began the Airdrie Stud Farm on 350 acres but ultimately grew the farm, which has been managed by his son Bret for the past several years, to encompass more than 2,500 acres, breeding numerous winning thoroughbred race horses along the way.

Following his tenure as governor, during which the state's lucrative equine industry was a top focus, Jones went on to establish in 2004 and serve as chairman until 2011 of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, or KEEP, which worked with both the state government and private interests to expand, promote, and protect horse breeding and racing in the state and beyond.

Current KEEP Chairman Case Clay said in a statement, "Governor Brereton Jones was a true champion for Kentucky’s horse industry. His legacy will forever be felt in our organization and throughout the entire equine community. We are deeply saddened by his loss and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family during this difficult time."

Jones was also instrumental in creating the famed Breeder's Cup, and that organization's president and CEO, Drew Fleming, said, "Governor Jones' passion for Thoroughbred racing and breeding was second to none."

"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," he added. "We are forever grateful for his contributions to our sport and send our sincere condolences to his family and friends."

"A kind and passionate Kentuckian"

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce also took note of Jones' passing and his contributions, both through legislation and private advocacy, to improve the state and help "strengthen and protect" its equine industry.

"Governor Jones was a kind and passionate Kentuckian, who dedicated much of his life to moving the Commonwealth and its people forward," Chamber president and CEO Ashli Watts said. "We appreciate his commitment and service, and join in offering our prayers and condolences to his family."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.