In a highly unusual move, Maker's Mark will double the amount of their limited edition bottles honoring Johnny Bench.
Bill Samuels, Jr., President and CEO of Maker's Mark: "Originally, we only produced 3,000 of these commemorative numbered bottles. But with the overwhelming amount of phone calls we have received, we decided to make 3000 more of these special bottles. This will increase the amount raised for the charities."
Bench, National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher and member of the legendary Big Red Machine, is pictured on the Fifth Annual limited edition bottle commemorating the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park.
Turfway Park president Robert Elliston "The response to these unique bottles, has been phenomenal, even before they go on sale. What a wonderful opportunity for these charities as well as Johnny Bench fans."
All the Maker's Mark proceeds from the sale of the bottles along with the related events will raise money and public awareness for this year's selected charities, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
The Turfway bottles will go on sale Friday, March 14 in Northern Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati area and will sell around $22 depending on the retailer.
The special 375 ml bottle features a classic photograph of Bench standing with catcher's mask in one hand and mitt in the other. Because of the label's special paper, each bottle is hand labeled as well as hand numbered.
Also Bench, Samuels and Elliston have agreed to sign additional bottles on Saturday, March 22 at Gate B of the main building of Turfway Park. Starting at 9 AM, 600 tickets will be distributed for the signing, limiting to one ticket per person. Each person may bring two bottles for the signing. Only the 2008 bottles will be signed; no other memorabilia or items can be allowed. The bottle signing will end at 12 noon.
The night prior, a special dinner will be held Friday, March 21 from 6 PM to 9 PM at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. The event will include an evening with Reds Hall of Famers, (including Johnny Bench) with live music, a commemorative souvenir, and a silent auction. Guests also will preview "The Ol' Lefthander", an exhibit in tribute to longtime Reds broadcaster Joe Nuxhall. The exhibit opens to the public the following day. Nuxhall and his broadcasting partner Marty Brennaman were honored on the 2007 commemorative bottle. Tickets for the Hall of Fame event are $75; call Carolyn at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum (513) 765-7924.
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is a non-profit organization that seeks to record, preserve and promote the tradition and history of the Cincinnati Reds, its importance to the development of the game of baseball, and its significance to the culture and economy of the region. The organization celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Previous Lane's End Stakes commemorative bottle releases benefited the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Foundation, the Oscar and Yvonne Robertson Family Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Reds Community Fund, and One Way Farm.
This year marks the 37th running of the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes on Saturday, March 22. A major prep race for the Kentucky Derby and Turfway Park's most prestigious race, the day's premium venue is the Maker's Mark VIP Tent, with buffet, open bar and live music; tickets are $175. Other reserved seating is available for $25 to $80, some with buffet. General admission is $10. Parking is free; valet parking is available. Gates open at 10 AM, with first post at 1:10 PM. For tickets, call (859) 371-0200. The Lane's End Stakes is sponsored by Lane's End Farm of Versailles, Kentucky, one of the world's leading Thoroughbred operations. Lane's End is owned by William S. Farish, former ambassador to the Court of St. James's.