Wednesday July 24, 2024
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Mayor Greg Fischer and Ocala (Florida) Mayor Kent Guinn today made their annual wager on the Kentucky Derby, placing a new Louisville bourbon and Ocala brandy on the line.

This is the fourth year for the friendly wager between the mayors of the two cities, both steeped in thoroughbred tradition.

Mayor Fischer chose J Boys Echo, trained by Louisvillian Dale Romans, as his winning horse. “It’s time for this Louisvillian to get into the Derby Winner’s Circle,” the Mayor said.

Mayor Guinn is predicting favorite Classic Empire will emerge victorious in the Derby. Classic Empire, son of Pioneer of the Nile, has traditional Florida bloodlines of Unbridled, Fappiano, Dr. Fager and In Reality. But mostly, Mayor Guinn said he chose him because he is a big fan of trainer Mark Casse, who grew up in Ocala.

“With Mark’s hometown roots and farm in Ocala, I hope he brings the Kentucky Derby trophy home,” Mayor Guinn said. “The first Florida winner, Needles, has had his trophy prominently displayed in the city for a long time, so it is only fitting that the latest winner’s award also be on display so residents here in Horse Capital of the World can celebrate the honor.”

Last year, Mayor Guinn’s pick, Gun Runner, finished third, and Mayor Fischer’s selection, Brody’s Cause, finished seventh. So no spirits were exchanged.

Mayor Fischer’s bet this year is a bottle of the new Old Forester Statesman from Louisville’s Brown-Forman Corp. The company announced earlier this week that Old Forester Statesman will debut in acclaimed filmmaker Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming 20th Century Fox film, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and will available for film fans and bourbon aficionados to enjoy in August.

Mayor Guinn again bet Marion Black 106 —the Spirit of Florida Tangerine Brandy, distilled by Fishhawk Spirits of Ocala.

“We love our traditions in Louisville, and nothing is more traditional than Derby and bourbon,” Mayor Fischer said. “This bet with Ocala has become fun annual wager – and yet another tradition!”