Edwin J. Gregson Foundation and Old Friends Farm Named Charity Beneficiaries of 2017 Breeders' Cup World Championships
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Lexington, Ky. (March 30, 2017) - 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.
About Edwin J. Gregson Foundation
The Edwin J. Gregson Foundation was established to develop programs to benefit and enhance the quality of life of California thoroughbred horse racing's backstretch workers and their family members. Named in memory of veteran trainer Edwin J. Gregson, who was the initial driving force in its establishment, the nonprofit Foundation has been in existence since 2000. The major focus of the Foundation is to provide scholarship grants to college-bound individuals, as well as supports other important programs for backstretch workers, such as English as a Second Language and literacy classes and recreation and sport activities. For more information please visit www.gregsonfoundation.com.
About Old Friends Farm
Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 175 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 in Greenfield Center, N.Y., and 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 Maker's Mark® Bourbon
In 1954, at a small Victorian distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr., fulfilled his dream to create a pioneering handmade bourbon that, for the first time, would appeal both to bourbon and to non-bourbon drinkers alike, that tasted good and exemplified good taste, and wouldn't "blow your ears off," which was the measure by which bourbons were judged at the time. He decided to make his whisky in small-batches of 19 barrels, developed a proprietary barrel char to enhance the softness and sweetness of his whisky, and then rotated each barrel by hand to ensure exposure to consistent temperatures throughout the warehouse, and, ultimately, he aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr., unknowingly and unintentionally, fired the shot that started the Bourbon Revolution, and transformed bourbon from a "commodity" into a premium handcrafted spirit, giving rise to the modern era of bourbon. Today, Maker's Mark® continues to make its bourbon the same way Bill Samuels, Sr., did 60 years ago, in small batches by craftsmen who hand-dip each bottle. In 2010, in tribute to his father's spirit of innovation, Bill Samuels, Jr., unveiled Maker's 46®, a totally new bourbon that reflects the distinct character of Maker's Mark® but has a bigger, bolder and complex taste without any hint of bitterness. In 2014, a limited 375ml bottling of Maker's Mark Cask Strength, which is Maker's Mark- uncut and unaltered, was released to select markets. The limited launch of Maker's Mark Cask Strength generated tremendous enthusiasm and positive feedback, prompting a nationwide introduction of 750ml bottles in 2015. Maker's Mark® Bourbon (45% alc./vol.), Maker's 46R (47% alc./vol.) and Maker's Mark® Cask Strength™ Bourbon Whisky, (54%-57% alc./vol.) are distilled, aged and bottled by the Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc., in Loretto, Kentucky. In 1980, the distillery was designated a National Historic Landmark, becoming the first distillery in America to be so recognized, and has also been decreed as the "world's oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery" by Guinness World Records®. The Maker's Mark Distillery is one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, please visit the Maker's Mark® website.
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 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 Grade I races with purses and awards totaling more than $28 million, will be held November 3-4 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.