09/19/2010 11:14AM

Shawn Brasseaux, outrider, dies

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Shawn Brasseaux, a veteran outrider who had worked at Churchill Downs the last two years, died Saturday night at Jewish Hospital Shelbyville after suddenly falling ill. He was 42.

Brasseaux, a Louisiana native and lifelong horseman who had worked at tracks throughout the United States for 18 years, was one of three outriders at Churchill, along with Greg Blasi and Lee Lockwood. Blasi said Brasseaux apparently was stricken with septic shock in his bloodstream early Friday and was transported to the hospital. Family members who lived out of town were with Brasseaux when he died.

Blasi, a close friend, had surprised Brasseaux by giving him the honor of leading the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver, into the Churchill winner’s circle for post-race ceremonies, a duty that normally would have fallen to Blasi, the lead outrider.

“That was unbelievable,” Brasseaux later told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I didn’t know anything about it. For as long as I’ve done this, that topped it off for me. I don’t need to do anything else.”

Brasseaux had said last summer he intended to retire from his job following the Churchill fall meet to train Quarter horses.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Hixson Funeral Home in Dinton, La. Memorial contributions to offset funeral expenses can be made by calling Churchill chaplain Ken Boehm at (502) 439-0009.