Louisville, KY, October 25, 2017 — Beginning in 2018, America’s greatest horse race will be referred to as “the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve.” Brown-Forman Corporation announced today that it is entering into a multi-brand, multi-year partnership with the Kentucky Derby® and Churchill Downs®.
The Kentucky Derby sponsorship agreement between Churchill Downs and Brown-Forman is a five-year agreement. The company’s Woodford Reserve Bourbon will be the official presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby. Woodford Reserve has been the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby” since 1999 and sponsor of the Turf Classic Stakes race on Derby Day since 2000. The new agreement elevates the relationship, cementing Woodford Reserve and Thoroughbred horse racing’s long relationship.
“We are thrilled to be making this announcement and look forward to furthering our relationship with the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs,” said Paul Varga, Brown-Forman, Chief Executive Officer. “The Kentucky Derby is a legendary horse race and one of the premier sports experiences of any kind and we believe putting together two of Kentucky’s finest – Woodford Reserve and the Kentucky Derby – is a natural fit. We couldn’t be more excited to be an integral part of the celebration that is the Kentucky Derby.”
The Kentucky Derby, which holds the distinction of being America’s oldest continuously-held sporting event, has been run without interruption at Churchill Downs since the track’s first race meet in 1875. The race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds offers a $2 million-guaranteed purse. The 144th running will take place on Saturday, May 5, 2018.
“Brown-Forman has been an incredible partner of our company for more than 30 years and it is extremely gratifying to expand our relationship with this agreement to establish its Woodford Reserve bourbon as the presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby,” said Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of CDI. “Our companies share Kentucky as their birthplace and each has developed brands that have achieved international success and earned reputations for excellence. The Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs have recorded significant growth in recent years and we’re confident that the expansion of our ongoing partnership with Brown-Forman is an important step in the continued growth of the Kentucky Derby as a premier international entertainment event.”
On Derby Day, Woodford Reserve will be an integral part of the unmatched celebratory experience of the Kentucky Derby. Woodford Reserve will leverage all of the partnerships associated with the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, and the Road to the Kentucky Derby, including the NBC tie-in and signage throughout the track.
Woodford Reserve will be the presenting sponsor of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the series of 37 points races that determine the eligibility of horses to compete in the race.
Additional Brown-Forman brands will take part in the sponsorship, including Old Forester returning as the “official mint julep of the Kentucky Derby” and a sponsor of Thurby (Thursday of Derby week). Those details will be announced at a future date.
For nearly 150 years, Brown-Forman Corporation has enriched the experience of life by responsibly building fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s & Cola, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Finlandia, Korbel, el Jimador, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Canadian Mist, Herradura, New Mix, Sonoma-Cutrer, Early Times, Chambord, BenRiach, GlenDronach and Slane. Brown-Forman’s brands are supported by over 4,700 employees and sold in more than 165 countries worldwide. For more information about the company, please visit http://www.brown-forman.com/.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2018. The track’s 2017 Fall Meet is scheduled for Oct. 29-Nov. 26. An eight-time host to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Churchill Downs will again be the site of that event on Nov. 2-3, 2018. Information is available at www.ChurchillDowns.com.