Breeders' Cup, one of Thoroughbred racing's most prestigious international events, and Maker's Mark®, the original premium bourbon, today announced the 2019 Limited-Edition Maker's Mark bottle from the Champions for Charity program, which began in 2015, with the goal of raising money for local and Thoroughbred-industry charities.
Now in its fifth year, the partnership continues a tradition of creating limited-edition Maker's Mark bottle collections featuring legendary Champions that will be released in conjunction with the 2019 and 2020 Breeders' Cup World Championships and will be auctioned surrounding each event.
The second bottle in the latest collection of limited-edition Maker's Mark bottles will feature Mike Smith, the all-time leading jockey in Breeders' Cup history with 26 wins in the World Championships.
Bottle fulfillment and pick up information will be announced in the coming weeks.
Proceeds from the 2019 auction will support Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY., and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).
Past bottles have featured Zenyatta, one of the most beloved Breeders' Cup winners of all time and the first horse to win two different Breeders' Cup races. Cigar, who completed an undefeated season in 1995 by winning the Breeders' Cup Classic, and Hall of Fame Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has the most wins of any trainer in Breeders' Cup history.
In addition to collaborating with Breeders' Cup on the one-of-a-kind bottles, Maker's Mark will curate a signature cocktail to be served at the 2019 event and at all major Breeders' Cup parties and hospitality events throughout the week, including Taste of the World. The bourbon brand is also the official sponsor of the $2 million Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Championship race, which will take place on Saturday of Breeders' Cup weekend and showcase the world's best female grass horses.
Breeders' Cup -Maker's Mark Limited Edition Bottle honoring Mike Smith
"Our loyal fans and industry supporters have made the Champions for Charity program bigger and better each year, so we are delighted to sustain our partnership with Maker's Mark, and with our beneficiaries in Old Friends and the PDJF for the 2019 World Championships," said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of the Breeders' Cup. "Mike's Smith's overall Breeders' Cup success and popularity over many years with our fans makes him a natural choice for this year's bottle representative image."
"We've been proud to be part of this charitable effort from the beginning because of our long association with thoroughbred racing," said eighth-generation distiller and Maker's Mark Chief Distillery Officer Rob Samuels. "Finding ways to give back is a core value for us, and I know Mike Smith shares that same ideal. It's an honor for us to feature him on this year's commemorative bottle."
Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith has won 26 Breeders' Cup World Championship races, the most of any jockey in the 35-year history of the event. The New Mexico native has won the Breeders' Cup Classic four times, including his last-to-first dramatic win aboard Zenyatta in 2009, along with wins in 1997 aboard Skip Away, in 2011 on Drosselmeyer, and most recently, riding Arrogate in 2016.
"I am so honored to be recognized by Maker's Mark and Breeders' Cup with this commemorative bottle," said Smith. "It is extremely humbling to be honored in this way as Breeders' Cup has been such an instrumental element of my career. Thank you to all involved and for the support of two amazing charity partners."
Said Old Friends Founder and President Michael Blowen. "Our thanks go out to Maker's Mark and the Breeders' Cup. The Champions for Charity campaign has made a significant contribution to the aftercare community, and we are immensely proud to again be chosen as a beneficiary. We are equally honored to partner with the PDJF and with Mike Smith, who has been a friend and supporter of the Old Friends mission for many years."
"The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is grateful to be included as a recipient of proceeds from the sale of this special commemorative bottle featuring our good friend and ambassador Mike Smith," said PDJF President Nancy LaSala. "We know in past years these bottles were popular with racing fans and collectors, and we thank the Breeders' Cup and Maker's Mark for continuing this 'Champions for Charity' promotion to assist racing charities."
About Maker's Mark® Bourbon
In 1954, in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr. fulfilled his dream to create a handmade and delicious bourbon. He decided to make his whisky in small batches, using soft red winter wheat, with a proprietary barrel char to enhance the softness and sweetness. He then rotated each barrel by hand for consistency, and finally, aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr. transformed bourbon from a "commodity" into a premium handmade spirit, and today Maker's Mark® continues to make its bourbon exactly the same way. In recent years, Maker's Mark has introduced thoughtful, super-premium innovations to its portfolio including Maker's 46®, Maker's Mark® Cask Strength and Maker's Mark Private Select™, the brand's first-ever custom barrel program.
In 1980, the Maker's Mark distillery became the first distillery in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark and has also been decreed as the "world's oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery" by Guinness World Records. It remains one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, please visit www.makersmark.com.
About Old Friends
Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for over 200 retired racehorses. It's Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has two satellite facilities: Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division in Greenfield Center, N.Y., and at Old Friends at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, KY. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.
About the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF)
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) is a 501(c)3 charity providing financial assistance to 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Founded in 2006, the PDJF has disbursed more than $9 million dollars to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis and/or traumatic brain injuries. The Fund is a cooperative effort among racetracks, jockeys, horsemen, owners, and racing fans.
About Breeders' Cup
The Breeders' Cup administers the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships. The Breeders' Cup also administers the Breeders' Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2019 Breeders' Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 championship races (13 Grade 1 events and one Grade 2 race) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders' Cup press releases appear on the Breeders' Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders' Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.