Born to Ira & Ambie Kilburn in 1991, Caleb Kilburn was raised in Salt Lick, a rural eastern Kentucky town, on his family’s dairy farm. These years taught him the meaning of hard work and endowed him with an impressive array of mechanical skills which would prove invaluable later in life when he was called on to help build Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. After graduating Valedictorian of his high school class in Bath Co., he attended Morehead State University where he pursued his love for the sciences. It was during this time that Caleb became fascinated with the art of distillation. He claimed it to be the perfect balance of chemistry, biology, & physics. His fascination led him to obsessively research the process & science of distillation. His research went beyond traditional means, as he attended many of the distillery tours in the area, requesting opportunities to shadow at several of them. In 2013, between his college sophomore & junior years, Caleb paid his way through a Distiller’s course offered by the Distilled Spirits Epicenter, in Louisville, KY. It was during this course that Caleb befriended 2 of the instructors who would later become his mentors. Rob Sherman, President of Vendome Copper & Brass Work in Louisville, KY, & Pete Kamer, the retired Head Engineer of Barton Brands in Bardstown, KY. Each provided Caleb with educational opportunities and advice over the course of the next year. In the summer of 2014, each mentor recommended Caleb work with the startup Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. Originally assigned to general construction tasks, Caleb quickly proved his valor by persistently taking on more and more responsibilities. Thanks to his upbringing and research, he was more than capable of managing the installation of the mechanical systems & distilling equipment. By the end of summer, Carson & Corky Taylor, the family ownership of Kentucky Peerless, formally offered Caleb the position of Head Distiller. Caleb balanced the latter portions of the construction with his last semester of college, during which he developed the computer control system that was integral to Peerless’ creation of an exceptional whiskey. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Chemistry, & then started full time at Kentucky Peerless the following week. After several months of preparation, on March 4th, 2015, Caleb distilled Peerless’ 1st barrel of whiskey in 98 years. In the Fall of 2017, his dream continued as Peerless’ Kentucky Straight Rye earned industry-wide respect when it was named the #15 whiskey in the world by the Whiskey Advocate. Despite his uncanny intellect & meteoric rise in the craft spirits’ world, Caleb remains modest regarding his accomplishments. He doesn’t consider himself a Master Distiller and is quick to correct anyone who mistakenly calls him one. He states he holds that revered title for his idols and heroes. Humility aside, as one of the youngest distillers in the history of the industry, Caleb has produced some handcrafted whiskey that rivals the finest in the world.
Shug McGaughey began working as a trainer in 1979 and to date has won more than 240 graded stakes races. In 1986, he got his big break when Ogden Phipps hired him to train his stable of horses. In 1988, he won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in the United States. Among his many wins, Shug has captured the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Travers Stakes three times each and won the 1989 Belmont Stakes with Hall of Fame Champion Easy Goer as well as the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb. Shug’s nine Breeders’ Cup victories rank second to D. Wayne Lukas. Among the other horses, he has trained are back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Lure and Hall of Famer Personal Ensign. He has accomplished the rare trifecta of training a Breeders’ Cup winner, her daughter, and her granddaughter in the troika of Personal Ensign, My Flag, and Storm Flag Flying. In 2013 he won his first Kentucky Derby with Orb.
In 2004, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. At his induction ceremony, he said: “My deepest debt of gratitude always has been and always will be to the Phipps family” and “My affiliation with the Phipps family is one of the great highlights of my life. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Born August 10, 1965, Mike Smith is an American jockey who has been one of the leading riders in U.S. Thoroughbred racing since the early 1990s, was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003, and has won the most Breeders’ Cup races of any jockey with 26 Breeders’ Cup wins. Smith is also the second leading jockey of all time in earnings with over $312 million. In 2018, Smith rode Justify to the Triple Crown, becoming the oldest jockey to win the title at age 52.
Born August 14, 1966, in Louisville, Kentucky, Dale Romans is an American Thoroughbred racehorse trainer, best known for winning the 2011 Preakness Stakes with Shackleford and the Breeders’ Cup Turf with Little Mike. He also upset American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers Stakes with Keen Ice. He won the 2012 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer.