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Funeral arrangements announced for former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 18, 2023

(LEX 18) — Funeral arrangements have been announced for former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones, who died earlier this week after a lengthy illness.

Jones, a Democrat, served as the 58th governor for the Commonwealth of Kentucky from 1991 to 1995. Prior to the governorship, Jones served as the Commonwealth's 50th lieutenant governor from 1987-1991. He was 84 years old at the time of his death.

"It was his love of horses that brought Brereton Jones to Kentucky, but it was the people of the Commonwealth that made his life so incredibly fulfilling," the family of Brereton C. Jones said in a statement. "His greatest pride never came in titles, but in those moments when he could use the gifts God gave him to help someone in need or inspire others to do the same. Our family has lost its hero, our leader, our beloved 'Pop,' but our hearts are filled with immeasurable gratitude for both the precious time we shared and the incredible outpouring of love we’ve received in the wake of his passing. We are overwhelmed by your kindness. Thank you."

On Monday, September 25, Governor Jones will lie in state in the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. The family will receive visitors there from 3:00–7:00 p.m. His funeral will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 26, at Forks of the Elkhorn Baptist Church, 840 Duckers Road, Midway, Kentucky, followed immediately by a private burial.

Instead of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of these charities: Race Track Chaplaincy of America, Old Friends, or Bluegrass Care Navigators.

According to the National Governors Association, Jones established the Airdrie Stud Farm in Woodford County with his wife in the early 1970s. The farm has been recognized internationally for its thoroughbred horses.

Among his accomplishments as governor, Jones advocated a state constitutional amendment to allow Kentucky governors and other statewide elected officials to serve two consecutive terms. Jones returned to Airdrie after his term ended as governor.

In 2016, Jones and Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm were named recipients of the inaugural Industry Vision Award. According to Joe Clabes, Executive Director for the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), they were recognized for "their significant contributions to Kentucky's horse industry."

Jones was a co-founder of KEEP in 2004 and served as chairman of KEEP's Board of Directors until 2011.

Under his leadership, KEEP worked with the state legislature to create the Kentucky Breeders' Incentive Fund and the establishment of historical horse racing in the Commonwealth. KEEP says the programs have "significantly contributed" to the current success of Kentucky's horse industry.

"Governor Brereton Jones was a true champion for Kentucky's horse industry," said Case Clay, current chairman of KEEP. "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."

The Breeders' Cup released the following statement regarding the passing of Jones, who was a founding member:

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.”

Brereton leaves behind his wife, Libby, and his son and daughter, Bret and Lucy.