As many as 20 thoroughbreds will take the gate at the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, May 1, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and a bay colt named Midnight Bourbon is expected to join a growing list of Derby runners linked with Jackson Family Wines’ Barbara Banke and her Stonestreet Farm and Stables. Born and bred at Stonestreet Farm in Lexington, Ky., trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Midnight Bourbon is following in the horseshoes of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, Preakness champ Rachel Alexandra and Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic.
"Midnight Bourbon has always been forward, confident and even a little cheeky," Stonestreet Farm assistant broodmare manager Jennifer DeLaittre told Wine Spectator. "We're excited to see how he does this weekend, but at the end of the day, it's all about enjoying the experience."
Expected to join Midnight Bourbon at the starting gate on Saturday are Known Agenda and King Fury, both sired by Curlin, and in the preceding Kentucky Oaks race, the Stonestreet-bred and -owned Pauline’s Pearl and Clairiere will compete with Stonestreet-bred Malathaat.
But Banke won’t just be represented on the racetrack: Jackson Family Wines’ La Crema brand is hosting a summer-long Sonoma Coast Experiential Tour of pop-up tasting rooms at four of the country’s biggest horseracing venues, debuting at the Kentucky Derby this weekend, followed by appearances at the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y., and Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. "Our winemaking reputation is built on a vision that through a commitment to excellence, hard work and integrity, you can accomplish great things,” said Banke. “Not only do we embrace these ideals as the backbone of our 40-year wine business, but also our approach to thoroughbred horse racing. To bring two of our greatest passions together on the global stage at the Kentucky Derby is monumental for us, and we couldn’t be happier to be partners with Churchill Downs.”
Each pop-up tasting room will feature a lineup of La Crema Monterey Rosé, Monterey and Sonoma Coast Chardonnays and Monterey and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs. “The goal of the La Crema Sonoma Coast Experiential Tour is to bring the wine country experience directly to the consumer,” said Banke. “After a challenging year for all, filled with canceled events and travel, we’re delighted to have the opportunity to take La Crema on the road and reconnect with our fans.”
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