LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville, Ky. and Ocala, Fla. are both steeped in thoroughbred tradition and both consider themselves to be "the Horse Capital of the World."
For the eighth year, the mayors of the two cities are placing a friendly wager on which horse they think will win the annual Kentucky Derby.
“The Derby is steeped in tradition," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. "The friendly wager between Louisville and Ocala has become a part of that excitement."
Fischer chose Epicenter to win the 148th Derby. He said he chose the three-year-old colt because it's been trained by the all-time winningest trainer in North America, Steve Asmussen, who has yet to secure a Derby win.
Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn has placed his bets on Simplification, a Florida-bred thoroughbred that "enjoys running on dirt," an attribute he hopes will help on the Derby track.
Both mayors wagers are a tribute to the cities they represent.
Fischer's wager is a 2022 commemorative Derby bottle of Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby.
Guinn's wager is a bottle of Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. He said Stonestreet is home to many farms including a large training facility in Ocala known for the early training of many racehorses.
“This is my last Derby as Mayor, and it’s been an honor to watch our city beam with vibrancy through the thousands of visitors we welcome each year for the most exciting two minutes in sports," Fischer said. "And as the home of Bourbonism, we hope to welcome visitors, including Mayor Guinn, back to the bourbon epicenter of the world even after the winner has crossed the finish line.”