Governor Steve Beshear has announced the appointment of veteran Thoroughbred trainer John Ward as the new executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Ward, who along with his wife Donna operate John T. Ward Stables in Paris, Ky., as well as training and racing operations in New York and Florida, will assume his new role April 1. He succeeds Lisa Underwood who resigned in November 2011 to return to private law practice.
The 66 year old Ward guided Monarchos to victory in 2001. He has also trained winners in the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup.
Ward currently serves as a commissioner on the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, but a news release says he will resign from that post in order to accept the executive director position.
Ward says he will also give up his Kentucky trainer’s license once he takes over the job.