Jordan Blair getting on roll at Churchill Downs

Barn notes by Churchill Downs’ Kevin Kerstein (Coady Media photo of Jordan Blair)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, June 13, 2024) – Jordan Blair has been a relatively new face on the backstretch at Churchill Downs this meet having previously been stabled at various training centers throughout the state including Churchill Downs’ Trackside Louisville. The 42-year-old trainer, who now has a string based in Barn 6A, found his stride Wednesday, winning two races beneath the historic Twin Spires with veteran claimer G T Five Hundred and future stakes runner Midnight Rising

Blair’s Wednesday afternoon was highlighted by Surfside Stables’ Midnight Rising’s victory in a conditioned allowance contest in Race 8. The accomplished 4-year-old son of Mendelssohn gamely held off the late charge of Classic Catch by a scant nose to win the featured race, earning a solid 93 Brisnet Speed Rating. The now four-time winner will head to stakes company next out, according to Blair, with a long-term goal of competing in the Ack Ack Stakes (GIII) which is run during the September Meet at Churchill Downs.

          Earlier in the card, Blair tallied another victory with CIPS Racing’s G T Five Hundred, who was subsequently claimed for $20,000 in a 14-way shake by Steve Asmussen.

          Known as one of the few trainers on the backstretch with a master’s degree, Blair had a unique start to his career in the horse racing industry. A native of Lexington, Ky., Blair received an undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky then went to Mississippi State where he received a master’s degree in Agribusiness Management. Following several jobs working at farms in the Lexington area, Blair headed to the racetrack where he most notably worked as the assistant for trainers Mike Maker and Kenny McPeek before taking out his trainer’s license in 2013.

          Following the Spring Meet, Blair is scheduled to remain at Churchill Downs with a partial string of horses with his other trainees going to Colonial Downs in Virginia.  

          Blair’s next starter at Churchill Downs is slated for Sunday with Triple Elvis in Race 8.

ERIK ASMUSSEN WINS FIRST CHURCHILL DOWNS RACE WEDNESDAY ABOARD PURSUIT OF POWER – Erik Asmussen, the youngest son of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, rode his first winner at Churchill Downs on Wednesday aboard Pursuit of Power in Race 9.

          Asmussen, a regular rider in Texas at Lone Star Park, began his career in the saddle six months ago at Churchill Downs. Following three unsuccessful mounts beneath the Twin Spires, Asmussen moved his tack south, riding at Louisiana Downs, Sam Houston and, most recently, Lone Star Park where he was fourth in the standings with 20 wins. He’s scheduled to return to Texas and ride Friday-Sunday, then ride at Horseshoe Indianapolis Monday and Tuesday before two mounts Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

          Asmussen’s brother, Darren, was in attendance Wednesday for his victory and was joined in the winner’s circle by their father. Older brother Keith was a member of the jockey colony at Churchill Downs but was injured two weeks ago when he suffered a fractured femur, two broken ribs and partially collapsed lung during a riding mishap. Keith has since been discharged from University of Louisville Hospital and is recovering at home.

DOWNS AFTER DARK RETURNS SATURDAY FEATURING ‘YACHT ROCK’ THEME – The final Downs After Dark of the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs is Saturday night and the home of the Kentucky Derby will celebrate the return of summertime with a “Yacht Rock” theme.

          Guests are encouraged to dress in nautical-inspired attire – traditional dress codes in premium seat areas will be relaxed – as Churchill Downs stages a summer-inspired nighttime 10-race program beneath the historic Twin Spires starting at 6 p.m. (all times Eastern). Admission gates will open at 5 p.m.

          The evening will include musical performances headlined by Monsters of Yacht(8:30 p.m.) with DJ K-Dogg (5:30 p.m.) kicking off the entertainment.

Attendees can also enjoy a roving photobooth, style contests (Best Nautical Chic and Captain’s Best) and whimsical art by caricaturists. There also will be signature drinks at the Q Mixers Beachside Party.

The high-class racing includes two stakes events: the $175,000 Monomoy Girl for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles (Race 5 at 7:57 p.m.) and $175,000 Chorleywood for 4-year-olds and up at 1 3/8 miles on turf (Race 7 at 9:05 p.m.).

The final race of the night is scheduled for 10:42 p.m.

General admission is $20. Reserved box seats range from $28-$38. All-inclusive premium dining packages are $92-$179. This includes the new Sports Illustrated Club SI with all-inclusive offerings and direct views into the horse stalls of the new Paddock; the highly sought after all-inclusive Homestretch Club for night racing; and newly renovated Jockey Club Suites for larger private groups. Inquire about all the options at or by calling (502) 636-4450 or emailing [email protected].

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.