Breeders' Cup and Maker's Mark, the original premium bourbon, have announced a new partnership that will aim to raise $1 million for charity over the next three years.
Beginning with the 32nd Breeders' Cup World Championships Oct. 30-31 at Keeneland in Lexington, the two iconic brands will collaborate on a limited edition collection of Maker's Mark bottles, each of which will feature a previous Breeders' Cup champion. The proceeds from the sale of the bottles will be donated to various local and Thoroughbred industry charities through Breeders' Cup Charities, the official charity outreach program of Breeders' Cup.
In addition to the special bottles being created, Maker's Mark will be featured in a signature cocktail at at Keeneland and for all of the major Breeders' Cup parties and hospitality events throughout the week, including Taste of the World and the Finish Line Celebration Party.
"We couldn't be more excited about this partnership with Maker's Mark," Breeders' Cup president Craig Fravel said in a release. "We reached out to Maker's Mark on the very day we announced this year's World Championships would be at Keeneland because of the brand's roots here and the esteem in which Maker's Mark is held all over the world. That makes them a perfect partner, and it's a milestone for the Breeders' Cup, illustrating the evolution of the event."
The five limited-edition Maker's Mark bottles will represent A.P. Indy, Cigar, Lure, Personal Ensign, and Zenyatta and be colored in the silks their respective jockeys wore during their illustrious careers. Three of the bottles—A.P. Indy, Lure, and Personal Ensign—will be released this fall, just before the Breeders' Cup World Championships at a ticketed event at Keeneland Oct. 29.
The event, called Champions for Charity, will be held in the VIP Maker's Mark Bourbon Lounge at Keeneland, an upscale area designed to be the go-to, on-site social locale at the track during the week. Attendees at the event will have the opportunity to bid on the bottles through a silent auction, with 100% of the donations going to the following organizations through Breeders' Cup Charities: Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, The Lexington Cancer Foundation, Inc., The Race for Education, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Foundation.
The fourth bottle featuring Zenyatta will be released in 2016, and the fifth featuring Cigar in 2017. To further personalize the bottles, connections of the five champions will pre-sign each of their respective bottles.
To attend the party with the auction of the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup-themed bottles, click here.
"This is a great partnership all around for us," Maker's Mark chief operating officer Rob Samuels said. "When my grandparents created Maker's Mark, Keeneland was their first customer and many of their friends were in the Thoroughbred industry. So we've always had a soft spot for charities connected with the sport. And what an honor to be part of such a prestigious event as the first Breeders' Cup ever to take place at Keeneland."
Beyond the fundraising bottle event and being involved with all the week's activities, Maker's Mark will be promoting the Breeders' Cup in various off-premise market locations. As part of the multi-year partnership, Maker's Mark also will be closely involved with the World Championships when it returns to Santa Anita Park in 2016 and for its debut at Del Mar in 2017.