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Friday, September 17, 2021

Ocala and Louisville mayors make annual friendly wager on Kentucky Derby

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer have resumed their annual wager on the Kentucky Derby, placing a 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon and a bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon on the line.

Mayors at Kentucky Derby in 2018
Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, right, shares a moment with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer at the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Guinn and Fischer, who are friends, make an annual friendly wager on the Derby. This year, Guinn has selected Soup and Sandwich, while Fischer chose Essential Quality. At stake is a bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon and a 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon.

The mayors canceled their annual bet last year, as the country was dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby was moved from the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in September.

This is the seventh year of the 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.

Soup and Sandwich
Soup and Sandwich is Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn’s pick to win Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Guinn this year chose Soup and Sandwich, breaking from post position 19, to win the 147th Kentucky Derby and make the time-honored walk to the infield Winner’s Circle. Soup and Sandwich is a Florida-bred thoroughbred raised at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala and owned by Charlotte Colket Weber, the granddaughter of Campbell Soup founder John T. Dorrance. The thoroughbred is being trained by Mark Casse and will be ridden by jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

Fischer picked 3-year-old colt Essential Quality, breaking from post position 14. Essential Quality was bred in Kentucky, is trained by Brad Cox and will be ridden by Luis Saez.

“Trainer Brad Cox is a dyed-in-the-wool Louisvillian who grew up two blocks from Churchill Downs on Evelyn Avenue,” the Mayor said. “It would be a great local story for him to win the big race with Essential Quality.”

Essetial Quality
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is betting on Essential Quality to win the Run for the Roses.

Guinn is encouraging residents of the Ocala area to go to the World Equestrian Center to watch the Run for the Roses on Saturday. The Derby watch party will be shown on the Jumbotrons overlooking the Grand Stadium.

“Each year, the Derby has a talented group of horses competing for the title, and the majority of these contenders have passed through Ocala on their journey to the Kentucky Derby,” Guinn said. “Mayor Fischer and I both want to shine a light on the horse industry in our respective states while embracing the spirit of friendly rivalry between our two equine-centric cities. This bet is a tradition I look forward to each year. Win or lose, I’m proud to represent Ocala.”

Mayor Guinn bet Stonestreet Estate Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. Kendall-Jackson is a major sponsor of the Derby and the founder’s family has strong ties to horse racing, establishing Stonestreet Farm, an 1,800-acre stable in Lexington, Kentucky.

World Equestrian Center
Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn is encouraging area residents to attend a Kentucky Derby watch party on Saturday at the World Equestrian Center.

Fischer bet a bottle of Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corp.’s Woodford Reserve, signed by Master Distiller Chris Morris. Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby.

“The Kentucky Derby is always an exciting time for our city to participate in this lasting tradition filled with a rich history. Our friendly wager also has become a part of that excitement,” said Fischer, adding that Guinn has an open invitation to visit Louisville – that would be “a win-win.”