In the inaugural year of bourbon distiller Woodford Reserve's sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby, multiple Eclipse Award winner Billy Reed writes about the longstanding “marriage” in the Bluegrass State between horse racing and bourbon for WAVE 3 in Louisville.
In particular, Reed writes, Brown-Forman, the parent company of Woodford Reserve, has had an involvement with the Kentucky Derby for nearly 50 years through its people and its brands.
Reed tells the story of how retired Brown-Forman executive W.L. Lyons Brown became the first Thoroughbred owner to give a Kentucky Derby mount to a female jockey, Diane Crump, in 1970. After getting confirmation from trainer Dan Devine that he intended to start his hard-to-handle colt, Fathom, in the Derby, Brown asked Crump, who the previous year became the first female to ride in a pari-mutuel race in the United States, if she would take the mount.
“Diane,” Brown said, “I'd be very honored if you would ride Fathom for me in the Derby.”
“Mr. Brown,” she said, “I'll be happy to ride him down Longfield Avenue if you ask me to.”
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