A Stake in Stardom Kentucky Derby Experience ‘Powerful, Electric, One of a Kind’

Pop Culture
Churchill Dowsns Kentucky Derby Mage A Stake in Stardom Jaces Road West Point Thoroughbreds
The field for the 149th Kentucky Derby races into the first turn on May 6, 2023, at Churchill Downs. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Behind every horse at this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve was an owner or a group of owners whose dreams were realized once the gate doors opened for the 149th run for the roses. Three high-profile owners, in particular, got to experience the thrill of having a horse in the race for the first time.

Thanks to America’s Best Racing’s collaborative campaign with West Point Thoroughbreds known as “A Stake in Stardom,” NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, FOX Sports reporter Lindsay Czarniak, and Fox Sports talk show host Joy Taylor travelled to Louisville as minority owners of Kentucky Derby runner Jace’s Road, who is owned in partnership by West Point and Albaugh Family Stables.

Not only did the these three high-profile media personalities get to feel what it’s like to have a horse in the Derby, they brought their fans and social media followers along for the ride.

Right after the Kentucky Derby, we asked Rapoport, Czarniak, and Taylor to tell us what the day was like for them.

Ian Rapoport travelled to Louisville on Thursday of Derby week and drove directly from the airport to Churchill Downs to meet Jace’s Road at the barn of Brad Cox. That was one of many highlights to come over the course of the weekend for the nation’s most prominent NFL insider and his wife, Leah.

“That experience of participating in the walkover is something I will never forget. In fact, the whole weekend was something I’ll never forget. Powerful, memorable, it was all amazing,” Rapoport said. “Seeing Jace’s Road fly out of the gate was so thrilling. It didn’t end how we wanted. But that’s OK. Leah and I were so proud and happy to be associated with West Point Thoroughbreds and America’s Best Racing.”

Lindsay Czarniak also wanted to soak up every possible moment of Derby weekend. She visited Jace’s Road in his barn and appeared on WHAS 11 in Louisville to talk about A Stake in Stardom. What she’ll remember most, perhaps, is getting to share the weekend with the person who gave her an appreciation for horse racing in the first place, her father.

“I will never forget the experience of attending my first Kentucky Derby and what it felt like as the horses sprinted past the finish line. It was electric,” Czarniak said. “I was thrilled just to attend but to be there as a minority owner of Jace’s Road took this to an entirely different level. Being embedded in the historic moment that is the walkover before the start of the race left me speechless. I loved being able to see the emotions of those connected to these horses so closely while walking over myself. What a moment!

“Being there with my dad, who knows so much about the sport and loves it like he does gave me a unique perspective and getting the opportunity to explore the behind-the-scenes process, including early morning routines, has sparked an interest and curiosity I’m determined to follow in the future. I’m so grateful to America’s Best Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds for the access and for the chance to be a part of A Stake in Stardom.”

Joy Taylor was also taking in the Derby for the very first time and getting to enjoy it as an owner made the weekend even sweeter. From all of the events before the Derby to getting to do the walkover with Jace’s Road, it was a weekend she’ll remember forever.

“The Kentucky Derby is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. The sights and sounds are completely unique to any other sporting event I have attended. The opportunity to be a part of the ownership group of Jace’s Road with West Point Thoroughbreds was incredible as well. The walkover before the Derby was something I will never forget. I can’t recommend making this trip more.”

America’s Best Racing would like to thank Terry Finley and the entire team at West Point Thoroughbreds for partnering on this innovative marketing campaign.

Last month, “A Stake in Stardom” won a 2023 American Business Gold Award in the Influencer Marketing Campaign of the Year category. We’re excited to follow the journey of Jace’s Road, his owners and to watch the evolution of this program.

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