Lexington, Louisville mayors place 'friendly wager' on rivalry game

syoungman@herald-leader.comDecember 26, 2013 

It would seem that the only thing that could make the Kentucky Wildcats' college basketball rivalry with the Louisville Cardinals more bitter would be a dose of politics.

Fortunately, it appears that most politicians will be focused on the scoreboard instead of poll numbers come Saturday when the two teams square off in Rupp Arena.

A number of politicians will be at the game, and a couple are even trying to make it a little more interesting.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are planning to sit next to each other at the game, and they have placed a "friendly wager" on the game.

The winning mayor will host the loser at his hometown racetrack, according to Gray's office, which threw in some trash talk and a prediction that the Lexington mayor will be hosting Fischer at Keeneland during the spring meet.

"Mayor Fischer, it will be a pleasure to welcome you to Rupp Arena, the Cathedral of College Basketball," Gray said in a statement. "I'm hoping you won't take the loss too hard... after all, Kentucky has won twice as many of these match-ups as Louisville."

Fischer returned fire, predicting that Gray will enjoy his time under the twin spires.

"When the Cards win with their superior quickness and experience, I will be honored to host Mayor Gray for a day at the races during the spring meet at Churchill Downs," Fischer said in a statement.

Gov. Steve Beshear, a UK graduate, will be attending, and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, the former mayor of Louisville, is scheduled to be in Rupp.

"I am an alumni of UK (2 degrees) so I will be wearing blue and cheering for UK," Beshear said in an email. "I cheer for UL in every game they play except for the UK game."

Abramson said by email that he would be wearing "a white long sleeve shirt with a black U of L sleeveless sweater (cardinal bird on the front). I cheer for the Cats every game they play except for one. I will be cheering for the Cardinals. Go Cards!"

Potential 2015 gubernatorial candidate and State Auditor Adam Edelen isn't making any bones about his allegiance, saying Thursday that he will be wearing blue in Rupp Arena.

"Among the most annoying elements of Kentucky politics is the feigned neutrality for the Blue-Red game," Edelen said. "It's silly and underestimates Kentuckians. Pick a side. Be a human being. I bleed blue."

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr will also be in Rupp come Saturday, saying he "wouldn't miss it."

"I haven't missed a UK vs. U of L basketball game either in person or on TV since Jim Master hit the buzzer-beater shot to send the original Dream Game into overtime in the 1983 NCAA tournament," Barr said.

Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service