Mayor Fischer makes seventh annual Derby wager with Mayor of Ocala, Fla.

April 29, 2021

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

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.  

Mayor Fischer this year picked 3-year-old colt Essential Quality, breaking from post position 14, to win the 147th Kentucky Derby and make the time-honored walk to the infield Winner’s Circle. 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.”

Mayor Guinn chose Soup and Sandwich, breaking from post position 19. He’s a Florida-bred thoroughbred raised at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala. Soup and Sandwich is owned by Charlotte Colket Weber, the granddaughter of Campbell Soup founder John T. Dorrance. Trained by Mark Casse, Soup and Sandwich will be ridden by jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

Mayor Guinn is encouraging residents of his community to go to the city’s newest large-scale venue, 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,” said Mayor Guinn. “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 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. 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, a 1,800-acre stable in Lexington, Kentucky.

“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 Mayor Fischer, adding that Mayor Guinn has an open invitation to visit Louisville – that would be “a win-win.”

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