The 2013 Woodford Reserve $1000 mint julep was unveiled this morning at Churchill Downs. This year proceeds benefit Old Friends, which "provides a dignified retirement to thoroughbreds whose racing and breeding careers have come to an end." Because, you know, Ferdinand.
In honor of 2013 being the 89th year the Kentucky Derby winner will be presented with a gold trophy and Woodford Reserve winning gold medals at every major spirits competition, the themes are, um, 89 and gold:
·ingredients include gold-filtered mineral water from eastern Nova Scotia
·Woodford gold sorghum from Woodford County, Ky.
·mint leaves from Woodford County, Ky., dusted in gold (most likely not from Woodford County, Ky.)
·gold-medal winning Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select bourbon
Eighty-nine cups total will be sold
·79 Distinguished Cups go for $1,000 each and "feature a hand-engraved thoroughbred and rider from atop the Kentucky Derby gold trophy and a gold-plated garland of roses," according to a press release
·nine Legendary Cups are available for auction, starting at $2,000 each; they feature "a gold-plated thoroughbred and rider medallion with brilliant cut diamonds"
With all this gold, you'd almost expect Woodford Reserve to be rooting for Rick Pitino's Goldencents.
While you can buy your $1000 mint julep from noon today through noon May 2 on woodfordreservemintjulep.com, the drinks themselves will only be served at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day (May 4—but you knew that). So if you buy one in advance, but drink yourself so silly at Oaks that you can't make Derby, well, that's just horsefeathers. Or you can bestow it to a proxy.
For the first time, Woodford Reserve is also offering a Golden Opportunity auction. The winner gets to present the trophy at the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, which immediately proceeds Derby itself (that is, it's a big deal), enjoy a private tour and dinner of Woodford Reserve's distillery and a private tour of Old Friends with a to-be-determined hall of fame jockey. The opening bid is $5,000.
2013 is the eighth year Woodford Reserve has offered the $1000 mint julep. So far, more than $354,000 has been raised to benefit both equine (horse) and humanitarian (people) causes. Ingredients in previous years included mint grown near the Euphrates River, sugar from the South Pacific and ice from the Arctic Circle.
Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center is home to 137 horses hailing from three states. Combined, these horses have more than $90 million in career winnings. While the ponies represent winners of all major races save Derby, founder Michael Blowen said Old Friends has been in talks with Japanese breeders to bring home Derby winners Charismatic (1999) and Silver Charm (1997) once their stud careers are finished.
[Photo: Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris sprinkles gold dust on the first $1000 mint julep of 2013, by Zach Everson]