An annual tradition every Derby season will now be honoring Black jockeys who dominated horse racing and led the way for future generations.
The Woodford Reserve $1000 Mint Julep Charity program plans to sell 100 special julep cups. Each cup features the names of one Black jockey and the year they won the Kentucky Derby engraved on the outside.
The jockeys are considered some of the first professional athletes in America, winning 15 Kentucky Derby races before the sport pushed them out due to racism and segregation.
“The jockeys played a significant role in horse racing that many people know little about,” Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris said in a release. “It’s time to honor them and their legacies. They each exemplified love for the sport and the pursuit of excellence, despite the inequality and injustice they faced throughout their lives and careers.”
Proceeds from this year’s program will benefit the Project to Protect African-American Turf History non-profit organization. The group has worked for more than a decade to tell the history of Black jockeys in the sport.
Each cup will be numbered 1-100, with 1-11 being gold plated cups selling for $2500. Cups 12-100 will be silver plated and sell for $1000.
The cups are designed by local jeweler “From the Vault,” coming in a bespoke purse designed by Louisville artist Albert Shumake. The cups will be cradled in decorative silk designed by Louisville artist Gwendolyn Kelley.
For more information and to purchase a cup, visit Woodford Reserve’s website.