The Association of Racing Commissioners International, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission all released statements Monday reflecting on the passing of GI Kentucky Derby-winning trainer John Ward.
“On behalf of the ARCI and John's many friends in the regulatory network, permit me to express our immense sadness and condolences to Donna and John's family upon learning the news of John's passing,” said ARCI President Ed Martin. “John Ward was a gentle giant in horse racing and was committed to our horses, everyone who cares for them, our riders, and all who are involved in and love our sport. He was a man of utmost integrity, common sense and determination who had a heart and a wonderful way about him no matter who you were. I made the mistake of once introducing John as a Hall of Fame trainer. He humbly corrected me. But in my humble opinion, based on his life's achievements, he should be in the Hall of Fame.”
“John was a good friend and a great ambassador for horse racing in the state of Kentucky,” said Beshear. “His experience as a trainer and horseman gave him a unique vision to lead the KHRC into a new and prosperous era. He will be missed by the entire horse racing community. Donna and his entire family are in Britainy and my prayers.”
“John was a really good guy,” added Marc Guilfoil, current KHRC Executive Director. “He challenged us in the office to think outside the box and come up with some very good policies and procedures that we still follow today. I guarantee you can search every history book in the country and you'll not find another person who served at the executive director of any commission in the United States, ever, that was also a Derby winning trainer. That's pretty special.”