Gregson Foundation, Old Friends 2017 BC Beneficiaries

Maker's Mark unveils commemorative Cigar bottle.

Continuing its collaboration to raise funds for important causes, the Breeders’ Cup and Maker's Mark® announced today that the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation, an organization focused on providing a better quality of life for California's backstretch workers and their families, and Old Friends Farm, home to some of the most popular retired Thoroughbred race horses, have been named the official charity beneficiaries of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Fans can support these causes and receive a 2017 Maker's Mark® limited-edition commemorative Cigar bottle by making a donation and attending the Champions for Charity event to be held Breeders’ Cup week in Del Mar, Calif. Event details will be available this summer. Please visit www.BreedersCup.com/ChampionsForCharity for further details.

This year’s commemorative bottle honors Cigar (see attached), who won the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic and became the first American horse, racing against top-class competition, to win 16 consecutive races since Triple Crown winner Citation did so from 1948-1950.

Breeders' Cup and Maker's Mark® have collaborated on a three-year program offering a limited-edition, five-bottle collection featuring a few of the most legendary Champions in Breeders' Cup history. Each bottle pays tribute with a customized design and signature from each Champion's connections. The Cigar bottle completes the collection, which featured AP Indy, Lure, and Personal Ensign in 2015, and Zenyatta in 2016.

“Over the past two years, the Champions for Charity program has proven to be a great success, providing necessary funds and resources for various Thoroughbred industry charities,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup. “We are very pleased to see the program return and look forward to working with Maker’s Mark to continue supporting such important causes.”

“We are honored and privileged to once again be a part of the Breeders’ Cup Maker’s Mark Champions for Charity campaign,” said Michael Blowen, founder and President of Old Friends, which is based in Georgetown, Ky. “We are equally honored to partner with Jenine Sahadi and the Gregson Foundation. We have great memories of the ‘invincible’ Cigar,” Blowen continued. “His popularity in retirement was among the things that inspired the creation of Old Friends. On a personal level, his two victories in the Mass Handicap took place in New England, where I am from, so it's thrilling that he's now supporting aftercare.”

“The Edwin J. Gregson is proud and excited to work with Breeders’ Cup, Maker’s Mark and Old Friends to raise funds for retired race horses, as well as their dedicated and worthy caretakers, for whom this industry is so much indebted,” said Jenine Sahadi, president of the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation.

“Maker's Mark exists today because my grandfather had friends in the Thoroughbred industry who supported both him and his whisky when he created the brand," said Rob Samuels, the 8th-generation distiller in his family. "Racing has always been close to our heart, and this bottle series is a perfect complement to that relationship. We're proud to help support the work of programs like Old Friends and the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation."

Combining the sport’s best racing, horses and jockeys with world-class dining, entertainment and celebrities, the Breeders’ Cup is one of the world’s most prestigious international thoroughbred racing events of the year. The 34th running of the Breeders’ Cup will make history as it debuts at iconic Del Mar Racetrack – Where the Turf Meets the Surf. San Diego’s vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches and sunny days offer an exciting backdrop for the 2017 event.

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