Louisville Magazine

Breeders Cup 2018

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22 BREEDERS' CUP #BC18 THE MARK OF A CHAMPION A new Maker's Mark ® signature bottle pays tribute to one of the greatest. By Bill Doolittle ◊ Just in time for this fall's renewal of the Breeders' Cup World Champi- onships at Churchill Downs, the Breed- ers' Cup and Maker's Mark® distillery have teamed up to produce a com- memorative bottle of bourbon sporting a likeness of D. Wayne Lukas — the Breeders' Cup's all-time winningest trainer, and one of thoroughbred horse racing's most recognizable personalities. e bourbon is the real thing, but you might opt not to open it. It's a limited edition collectible, and we're not sure of the rules on that. But the proceeds all go to racing-related chari- ties — and for that chance, one might propose a toast and consider a sip. Lukas' training career spans the entire 35-year history of the Breeders' Cup — with the World Championships returning this fall for the ninth time to Churchill Downs, the scene of many of Lukas' greatest moments, including a raft of Breeders' Cup triumphs and four victories in the Kentucky Derby. e commemorative bottle also continues a notable charitable proj- ect embarked upon four years ago by Breeders' Cup Charities and Maker's Mark whiskey. e proceeds from the bottle's sales will go to Old Friends oroughbred Retirement Farms and the Kentucky Derby Museum. Previous commemorative bottles celebrated Breeders' Cup horse heroes Personal Ensign, Lure, A.P. Indy, Cigar and Zenyatta. Now, in its first time to salute the people who "make" the champions, the first pick is Lukas. Because of his strong ties to the Ken- tucky Derby and Breeders' Cup, Lukas was a natural choice for this year's World Championships at Churchill Downs. It's also good timing, as Lukas is coming out with a new book, "Ser- mon on the Mount," and the Kentucky Derby Museum is opening a new D. Wayne Lukas exhibit. All of that comes together with a spe- cial event at the museum on ursday, Nov. 1, when the Maker's Mark bottle will be introduced and the museum launches a new D. Wayne Lukas exhib- it. (Odds-makers are predicting Lukas will offer a few words.) MAKING A BEELINE TO BARN 44 Lukas began his training career in Southern California. He sent out four horses for the first Breeders' Cup in 1984. None of them won, but the style was set, and his contenders kept coming — in a hurry. Over time the basketball-coach-turned-racehorse trainer has saddled more Breeders' Cup starters (164 and counting), and clicked with more winners (20 and counting) than any trainer. It didn't take long for Lukas to spread his wings to establish a national stable, with a branch of racing "strings" stabled at the most important tracks across the country. Lukas eventually relocated his head- quarters to his home barn at Churchill Downs, continuing to spin colorful stories of his stable stars, and explain- ing the sport to newcomers. And he still does. Lukas remains a spokesman for the sport, and when the big races come up, reporters make a beeline for Barn 44. ey know Lukas' fans want to hear what he has to say. So who wouldn't want a Lukas commemorative for the trophy shelf in the den? e Breeders' Cup bottle is white, with Maker's Mark's signature hand- dipped wax — the Maker's seal — covering the cap. But rather than the bourbon brand's trademark red wax, purple has been chosen to go with the white bottle, referencing the Breeders' Cup's purple and white "silks." ere's also a leather band with a brass "D. Wayne Lukas" nameplate — like a "lead shank" for a racehorse. Artist Bill Connelly, of Maker's longtime advertising agency, Doe-An- derson, created Lukas's likeness on the bottle. So its kind of like everyone involved has been down this bridle path. "It's been a great partnership to work on these bottles," says Rob Samuels, an eighth-generation Samu- els-family distiller. "It allows us to give back to an industry that, frankly, kept us afloat in the early years when my grandparents created Maker's Mark. e horsemen of Central Kentucky were their first and nearly their only customers for a few years." As "proof " of the close association of smooth whiskey and fast racehors- es, there's a company legend that the first case of Maker's Mark was pur- chased by the Keeneland Association. "Being able to recognize the great racehorses of all time and icons like D. Wayne Lukas — all while raising money for charities like Old Friends oroughbred Retirement Farms and the Kentucky Derby Museum — is a perfect match for us. We're hon- ored to have the opportunity," says Samuels. To get your commemorative bottle, go to breederscup.com/champions-for- charity.

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