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Maker’s Mark Distillery officials announced today that the 2011 Maker’s Mark Mile commemorative bottle will honor a Kentucky icon – Keeneland Race Course in commemoration of its 75th anniversary.

In addition, sales of the specialty bottle – which go on sale April 8 – will benefit a newly named endowment for the arts honoring retiring University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd, Jr. and his wife, Patsy.

The Lee T. and Patsy Todd, Jr. Development Fund will make it possible for the UK Symphony Orchestra and students from the UK School of Music to take symphony music into public schools and communities throughout the state. This year is the third time that bottle proceeds have helped fund this program.

“Every year, we strive to make this commemorative bottle and its charitable proceeds about the people and entities that have a positive impact on Kentucky,” said Maker’s Mark President and CEO Bill Samuels, Jr. “Lee and Patsy Todd, as well as Keeneland, have made significant contributions to Kentucky and have been such wonderful partners to Maker’s Mark through the years, that it seemed only fitting to honor them in this way.”

The design of the 2011 collectable bottle features Keeneland’s specially designed anniversary logo and notes the 15th anniversary of the distillery’s sponsorship of the Maker’s Mark Mile.  Keeneland Race Course opened on October 15, 1936.

Samuels expects about $200,000 from the sale of more than 18,000 bottles statewide, creating funding for this unique program in excess of $1.2 million.

“We are so honored that Maker’s Mark is paying tribute to our anniversary in this way,” said Keeneland President and CEO Nick Nicholson. “This sponsorship and all of the money it has raised through the years was the brainchild of Bill Samuels and he deserves a tremendous amount of credit for his ability to take a corporate partnership like ours to new heights. He is an innovator and, himself, a Kentucky icon.”

“Art and music are passions for Patsy and me. We are humbled that Maker’s Mark, Bill Samuels and Keeneland would honor us in this way by making us part of this special program and by helping take the transformative power of music to children across our state,” Todd said. “Our School of Music, and this outreach program, are emblematic of what becoming a Top 20 public research institution can mean for Kentucky – conducting research and providing service that changes lives and makes our Commonwealth a better place to live.”

Signing this year’s bottle will be Samuels, Todd and Nicholson along with Rob Samuels, the incoming President of Maker’s Mark and Bill Greely, retired Keeneland President. The signing will take place on Friday, April 15 at 6:30 a.m. trackside at Keeneland.

Stay tuned for more info. In the meantime, check out Maker’s Mark’s Facebook page for more pictures.

Updated Details on the signing:

Friday, April 15, 2011Bottle signing starts at 6:30 a.m.
Bottles go on sale on Friday, April 8, at retail liquor stores across the state. Please contact your local retailer for more specific information; bottles are not sold at Keeneland.
Line may begin at Keeneland at 8:00 p.m. on Thurs., April 14, 2011; location will be designated by Security personnel
Limit 2 bottles per person and only the 2011 commemorative bottle will be signed
There is no line position holding by people who are in line early; anyone cutting in line may be ejected from the property.
No alcohol can be brought in to Keeneland for consumption
No coolers inside the gates
Violation of policies may result in ejection from the property
Must be 21 years or older to participate

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