BREEDERS' CUP AND MAKER'S MARK® ANNOUNCE
CHARITY FOR CHAMPIONS COMMEMORATIVE BOTTLE PROGRAM
TO HONOR JAMES E. "TED" BASSETT III
Proceeds from the 2020 auction will once again support Old Friends Thoroughbred
Retirement, along with the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and the
Race Track Chaplaincy of America's COVID-19 relief efforts.
GEORGETOWN, KY - JULY 17, 2020 - Breeders' Cup, one of Thoroughbred racing's most prestigious international events, and Maker's Mark®, the original premium bourbon, today announced the 2020 Limited-Edition Maker's Mark bottle from the Charity for Champions program, which began in 2015, with the goal of raising money for Thoroughbred industry charities.
Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, KY., is once again proud to be named, for the fifth consecutive year, one of the official charity beneficiaries.
Home to such Breeders' Cup Champions as Alphabet Soup (1996 Classic), Eldaafer (2010 Marathon), Little Mike (2012 Turf), and Amazombie (2011 Sprint), Old Friends cares for over 200 retired Thoroughbreds in six locations.
In addition to Old Friends, proceeds from the 2020 auction will support the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America's COVID-19 relief efforts supporting industry stakeholders most in need.
The latest collection of limited-edition Maker's Mark® bottles will feature James E. "Ted" Bassett III, a former Keeneland and Breeders' Cup President who has long been regarded as Thoroughbred Racing's Gentleman Ambassador.
"Old Friends is honored to team up with the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America to pay tribute to Ted Bassett," said Old Friends President and founder Michael Blowen. "Mr. Bassett, who has visited Old Friends on numerous occasions, is an enthusiastic supporter. His ambassadorship on behalf of these great Thoroughbreds is unparalleled and we are overjoyed that Breeders' Cup and Maker's Mark are saluting him with this magnificent bottle."
The 2020 Breeders' Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY.
Bottles can be reserved for a donation of $400, and fans can secure bottles now through Charity for Champions page
Bottle fulfillment and pick up information will be announced in the coming weeks.
MORE ABOUT CHARITY FOR CHAMPIONS
Now in its sixth year, the partnership continues a tradition of creating limited-edition Maker's Mark® bottle collections featuring legendary Breeders' Cup figures that are auctioned off in conjunction with the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
In a remarkable career spanning more than seven decades, Bassett was a decorated Marine who was awarded the Purple Heart for his service during World War II. Bassett took the helm of Keeneland as president in 1969 and served in that capacity until 1986, when he was appointed as Chairman. While at Keeneland, he was named Breeders' Cup President in 1988 and for the next nine years oversaw the growth and expansion of the year-end championship event to new sites, including its first ever international venue of Woodbine in Toronto, Canada. He has received exemplary honors from racing organizations and institutions in Australia, Hong Kong, and Latin America. Adding to his stature as an industry leader, Bassett was honored in 1995 with the Eclipse Award of Merit and, in 2019, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame as a Pillar of the Turf.
"Over many years, Mr. Bassett has served Breeders' Cup, Keeneland and all of racing with honor, distinction and class, and we are extremely proud to have him grace our Charity for Champions Maker's Mark bottle as a part of this year's World Championships at Keeneland," said Drew Fleming, Breeders' Cup President and CEO. "Now in our sixth year in partnership with Maker's Mark, the Charity for Champions program is a great way for fans to support our 2020 beneficiaries in Old Friends, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America."
"Supporting such important causes as Old Friends, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the Race Track Chaplaincy COVID-19 relief efforts is extremely important to me," Bassett said. "I am deeply honored to have my picture on the Maker's Mark bottle considering all the distinguished faces that have appeared on them over the years. Furthermore, it is delightful to be recognized in a year when the Breeders' Cup will be held at Keeneland, for those are two organizations that have served as pillars in our industry, and for whom I enjoyed many years working with so many outstanding individuals. I also express my gratitude to Maker's Mark, which has been a stalwart partner of both Keeneland and the Breeders' Cup."
Charity for Champions bottles have featured some of the most outstanding horses and humans in Breeders' Cup history, including the great racemare Zenyatta, who defeated male rivals in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic and became 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 two of the most prolific individuals in Breeders' Cup history in Hall of Fame: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has the most wins of any trainer in Breeders' Cup history, and Mike Smith, the all-time winningest Breeders' Cup jockey.
"This year we're celebrating the strong connection we have with the Thoroughbred industry, because the Breeders' Cup is returning to Keeneland, the place where Maker's Mark was first served more than 60 ago," said Rob Samuels, an eighth-generation whisky-maker and Managing Director of Maker's Mark.
"As always, we are honored to partner with the Breeders' Cup in a way that supports so many great and worthy organizations. We feel it's important to give back to an industry that has always been behind the bourbon my grandparents created all those years ago."