Fischer: Kentucky Derby an economic boon for city of Louisville

05/04/2017 02:31 PM

It’s called the most exciting two minutes in sports, but the Kentucky Derby also shines a light on the city of Louisville as thousands flock to Churchill Downs, and millions more see the track and the city on televisions across the globe.

“This is on everyone’s global bucket, so you can feel it in the air,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said of the event when Spectrum News caught up with him on the backside Thursday morning.

With a chill settled over the track, and rain trickling down, Fischer remarked that no other city in the world puts together quite the spectacle as the Kentucky Derby.

“No matter what the weather is the sun is always shining bright here,” he said.

Last year more than 167,000 people attended the run for the roses, and more than $192 million was wagered. However, much more comes into the city by way of economic activity, Fischer said.

“It’s about a quarter-billion dollars economic impact, and that’s today, you can see all the construction that’s going on in the city,” he said. “We’ve got 25 hotels that are either being built or planned right now — expanding the downtown convention center. Bourbonism is now a 24/7 experience, so it allows the world to see what’s going on every year and then kind of get that word out.”

Fischer and Ocala, Florida Mayor Kent Guinn also made their annual bet on the horse race, according to a news release. The Louisville mayor wagered a bottle of the new Old Forester Statesman bourbon from Louisville’s Brown-Forman Corp. Guinn bet Marion Black 106 —the Spirit of Florida Tangerine Brandy, distilled by Fishhawk Spirits of Ocala.

Fischer chose J Boys Echo, trained by Louisville’s Dale Romans, as his winning horse. Mayor Guinn is predicting favorite Classic Empire will emerge victorious in the Derby.

Interview with Fischer conducted by Spectrum News’ Garrett Moore.


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