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Proceeds from 2021 Keeneland bottles to benefit LexArts’ Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden


Hall of Fame jockey Isaac Burns Murphy accomplished a level of success in the late 1800s that, by many measures, has never been equaled. So, it is only fitting that an effort to celebrate his remarkable legacy is, itself, also unique.

This year, the annual release of a commemorative Maker’s Mark Bourbon bottle in partnership with Keeneland will, for the first time, be three distinct bottles, each with its own label featuring the work of artists Sandra Oppegard, Andre Pater, or Tyler Robertson. The labels depict the pageantry, beauty, and power of Thoroughbred racing, a sport on which Isaac Murphy certainly left an indelible mark.

Murphy is the only jockey to have won the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, and Clark Handicap in the same year (1884). He won the Derby three times and was in the first group of jockeys inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame. He was originally buried in the African Cemetery #2 in Lexington but was later moved to the Kentucky Horse Park where he now lies near the legendary Thoroughbred, Man o’ War.

Proceeds from the bottle sales will go to LexArts, greater Lexington’s premier cultural development, advocacy, and fundraising organization, to support its initiatives at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden in Lexington. The Art Garden is the first park in the U.S. to honor African American jockeys, who were the earliest Black professional athletes. Funds from the 2021 bottle series will provide the remaining funding required to realize a permanent art installation by Lexington folk artist LaVon Van Williams, Jr. as well as future programming within the park with an emphasis on the arts.

The bottles are all pre-signed by the artist who created each label along with Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin, Maker’s Mark Managing Director Rob Samuels, and one of three active Hall of Fame jockeys who have won the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland multiple times: Javier Castellano, Edgar Prado, and John Velazquez.

The three bottles will go on sale Friday, April 2. This begins a three-year series benefiting LexArts initiatives, with the same three artists creating new labels each year for the commemorative release.

“To have the immeasurable support of these two iconic brands, Keeneland and Maker’s Mark, is meaningful in so many ways for LexArts and our entire arts community,” said Ame Sweetall, LexArts President and CEO. “The support of the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden this partnership will allow will further engage and enrich the East End community and build upon the early work of those who made the art garden a reality more than ten years ago.”

Maker’s Mark and Keeneland have been collaborating on a commemorative bottle release every year since 1997, raising millions of dollars for a variety of worthy causes throughout Central Kentucky.

“Keeneland has long championed the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and its celebration of the significant contributions African Americans have made to racing,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “It is especially gratifying to know that our longstanding collaboration with Maker’s Mark will benefit LexArts and ensure this important aspect of history will be preserved for our community and future generations.”

“I’m impressed by LexArts’ work to enrich the greater Lexington area through their various initiatives,” said Maker’s Mark Managing Director Rob Samuels. “This particular project to enhance the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden is an important and worthy cause, and I’m proud our long partnership with Keeneland is allowing us to support it in such a meaningful way.”

Keeneland, Maker’s Mark and LexArts invite the community to bring to life the stories of Isaac Murphy and the many African American horsemen who shaped the future of Central Kentucky’s equine industry. To make a financial contribution to the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, visit bgcf.givingfuel.com

From LexArts


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