Mayor Greg Fischer and Ocala (Florida) Mayor Kent Guinn today made their annual wager on the Kentucky Derby, placing a bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon and Ocala brandy on the line.
This is the fifth year of the friendly wager between the mayors of the two cities, both of which are steeped in thoroughbred tradition and consider themselves spirited rivals for the status of Horse Capital of the World.
Mayor Fischer this year picked Mendelssohn to win the 144th Kentucky Derby and make the time-honored walk to the infield Winner’s Circle. Mendelssohn was bred in Kentucky and is trained by Irish-based trainer Aidan O’Brien at Ballyldoyle Stables.
“It would be trainer Aidan O’Brien’s first Derby win, and he’s overdue because he’s one of the greats. And my grandmother was Irish, so it’s a sentimental favorite for me as well,” Mayor Fischer said.
Mayor Guinn chose Magnum Moon because he was trained in Florida under Todd Pletcher, who won last year’s Derby. Mayor Guinn said he vowed a year ago to bet on a Pletcher horse and predicted Magnum Moon would emerge victorious.
Last year, Mayor Fischer’s choice, J Boys Echo, trained by Louisvillian Dale Romans, finished 15th, and Mayor Guinn’s pick, Classic Empire, finished fourth.
“The road to the Kentucky Derby begins in Ocala, FL, Horse Capital of the World. This year is no different with 17 of the 19 horses having ties to our city,” Mayor Guinn said. “This annual bet with Mayor Fischer has become a tradition I look forward to, and it’s a fun way for us to unite the equine industry. We hope this will finally be the year that one of our horses is victorious!”
Mayor Fischer bet a bottle of Louisville Brown-Forman Corp.’s Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. Mayor Guinn again bet Marion Black 106 —the Spirit of Florida Tangerine Brandy, distilled by Fishhawk Spirits of Ocala.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Mayor Guinn and his return to Louisville for the Derby,” Mayor Fischer said. “Ocala likes to think of themselves as the horse capital of the country. Of course, everybody knows that’s not true. But we’re compassionate here in Louisville, so we’re playing along with it.”