Horses and bourbon will combine for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on May 5, 2018 as Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) and Brown-Forman Corporation announced a five-year agreement Wednesday to sponsor the first leg of the Triple Crown.
The second presenting sponsor in the history of the Kentucky Derby, Woodford Reserve replaces Yum! Brands, which served from 2006-2016.
“The creation of a presenting sponsor was an important step in the ongoing growth of the Kentucky Derby, and we deeply appreciate the support of Yum! Brands for more than a decade in that groundbreaking role,” said Bill Carstanjen said, Chief Executive Officer of CDI.
Woodford Reserve has been the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby” since 1999 and also becomes the presenting sponsor of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the points series of 35 designated prep races that determines the participants in the maximum field of 20 horses that will compete in each year’s race.
“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,” Carstanjen said. “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.”