Woodford Reserve Distillery - 2023 Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby Bottle Features the 50th Anniversary of Secretariat

When people think of Kentucky there are generally two things that that come to mind – The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Bourbon.

The Kentucky Derby is known worldwide as the place to be on the first Saturday in May for “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” and as Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall says, “The greatest two ounces in Kentucky bourbon, Woodford Reserve.”

These two things are inextricably linked by the state’s limestone rich water. You see the water helps to build strong bones in thoroughbred horses as they graze in pastures filled with Kentucky Bluegrass. And then of course there is bourbon. The limestone filtered water provides the perfect balance in bourbons distillation process by providing a high pH, which promotes fermentation, and is iron-free, which if present can turn the whiskey black and have a slightly metallic taste.

2023 Marks 50 Years Since Secretariat Won the Triple Crown in Epic Fashion

There have been 148 Kentucky Derby’s and only 13 Triple Crown winners. Undoubtedly, the most memorable Triple Crown winner is Secretariat – aka Big Red, nicknamed for his reddish-brown color. Secretariat kicked off his 1973 Triple Crown year by winning the Kentucky Derby in under two minutes with a time of 1:59 2/5 minutes. A record that has withstood the test of time as the fastest Kentucky Derby ever.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of Secretariats epic 1973 Triple Crown winning year. To celebrate the anniversary Churchill Downs has partnered with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, to create a custom painting that now adorns the 2023 Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby bottle.

The bottle features the artwork of Kentucky native Jaime Corum, known for her stunning horse portraits. If the names sounds familiar it is, Corum’s artwork was also featured on the 2022 bottle. Her 2023 painting captures Secretariat in the Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs, with the famed Garland of Roses draped over the colt’s withers. As you look close at the painting you’ll see she took some artistic liberty to help widen the winners circle and bring in many of the people that had a hand in bringing Big Red to the world.

The Most Collectible Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby Bottle Ever


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“This is our most collectible Derby bottle yet, as Secretariat is perhaps the most revered and most loved racehorse in history,” Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall said. “Even 50 years after his stunning achievement, Secretariat’s Triple Crown run is still considered one of the most iconic achievements in sports.”

This year’s unveiling was also a special day for McCall. In February she made history of her own when she was promoted from Assistant Master Distiller to Woodford Reserve Master Distiller. McCall is among the first women to hold the Master Distiller title of a major national brand of American Whiskey. During the unveiling of the 2023 Kentucky Derby bottle artwork McCall gave her first public toast as Master Distiller.

McCall was introduced by Master Distiller Emeritus Chris Morris.

“We’ve heard a lot about tradition, times, dates, relationships. I am so proud that this is our 24th year of Woodford Reserve being the official, the first ever official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby,” said Morris. “And for 20 of those 24 years, I’ve been honored to be Master Distiller. So now as I pass the reigns, pun intended, to Elizabeth [McCall], this is her first public toast as Woodford Reserve Master Distiller.”

“So if you all will please join me, as we celebrate our continued partnership with celebrated equine artist Jaime Corum and of course the highly anticipated 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s historic win in the Triple Crown,” exclaimed Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall. “And to the greatest horse in horse racing and the greatest two ounces in Kentucky Bourbon, Woodford Reserve, Cheers!”

You can see the entire ceremony in the video above or you can click here to jump to see Morris introduce McCall and watch her first ever toast as Master Distiller.

Corum spent her formative years riding horses, painting and drawing them in her free time, and continued to focus on her equine subject after receiving her Masters of Fine Arts from The University of Kentucky. Each equine artwork begins with the foundation of her understanding of equine shape and movement and enhances that with the intangible quality of the horse’s character.

“I hope that my painting for this year’s Woodford Reserve Derby bottle, “Still The Greatest,” allows us to remember that moment of dreamlike perfection when Secretariat won the 1973 Kentucky Derby,” Corum said. “I have been honored to paint Secretariat many times over the years, but this one is truly special to me, as it celebrates his 50th anniversary and is paired with Woodford Reserve. Who could imagine a more perfect pairing of two things that will never go out of style?”

Woodford Reserve’s Derby bottle has been an annual collector’s item anticipated by bourbon and racing fans since 1999.

The 2023 Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby bourbon is bottled at 90.4 proof (45.2% ABV) and has a suggested retail price of $55 for a 750mL bottle. It is available now where Woodford Reserve is sold plus the distillery and online at ReserveBar.

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– Woodford Reserve Unveils the 2022 – 23rd Anniversary Limited-Edition Kentucky Derby Bourbon Bottle

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Churchill Downs - Home of the Kentucky Derby

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