Bourbon Industry

Maker’s Mark releasing bottle for Triple Crown winner Justify

Justify, with Mike Smith up, center, outran Good Magic (6) and Audible (5) to win the Kentucky Derby in May 2018. Justify went on to win the Triple Crown.
Justify, with Mike Smith up, center, outran Good Magic (6) and Audible (5) to win the Kentucky Derby in May 2018. Justify went on to win the Triple Crown. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Make some room on your bourbon shelf: Maker’s Mark is releasing a special bottle honoring this year’s Triple Crown winner, Justify.

Maker’s Mark also released a commemorative for 2015 Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner American Pharoah and has released one honoring Triple Crown winner Secretariat as well.

If you’re lucky enough to collect all three, you could call it the “tipple crown.” (Maker’s Mark also released commemoratives for Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed.)

Justify Bottle Image (1).jpg
The Maker’s Mark Justify bottle is black, with green wax and a ribbon with the stars of WinStar farm, reflecting the silks that jockey Mike Smith wore in the Kentucky Derby. Warren Lynch

The Justify commemorative will be black, with green wax and a ribbon featuring stable WinStar’s stars. On the label is Justify himself, in full gallop, with jockey Mike Smith in the irons. The colors reflect the silks that Smith wore for Justify’s Kentucky Derby win for the partnership that includes WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners.

The photo appears to have been edited to remove jockey Smith’s sponsorship by Jeff Ruby Steakhouse, which was on his leg. Also edited out: The logo on Justify’s saddlecloth for competitor bourbon Woodford Reserve, which sponsors the race.

The limited edition 1-liter bottle also will raise money for charitable partners, including the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville and the Ann Hanley Parkinson’s Research Fund, which helps fund research at the University of Kentucky.

“Maker’s Mark has always had a strong connection with horse racing,” said Rob Samuels, eighth-generation distiller and chief operating officer of Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, in a statement. “Without the support of the thoroughbred industry in the early days when my grandparents created our bourbon, Maker’s Mark simply wouldn’t exist.”

The Justify bottle will be available at select locations nationally beginning this fall with a suggested retail price of $59.99.

A signing event will be held at the Kentucky Derby Museum during the week before the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2-3. Details will be announced soon, according to the release.

Triple Crown winner Justify arrived at WinStar Farm in Versailles on Wednesday after his retirement from racing last week. David Hanley, general manager at WinStar, says in this video that he sees great potential for Justify's breeding career.

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari took his players to see Triple Crown winner Justify on Wednesday at Churchill Downs in Louisville. What did the players think of the champion racehorse?

One day after winning the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown, Justify looked bright and alert. Trainer Bob Baffert said the colt would return to Louisville, but there are no set plans for his next possible race.

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