Tuesday, February 28, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 28, 2006 . . . The Grade II Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park next month has drawn 155 nominations, the most since Lane’s End Farm began sponsoring the race in 2002. With its $500,000 purse, the Lane’s End Stakes annually draws three-year-olds from across the country hoping to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby. This year’s race, the 35th running, is set for Saturday, March 25.
Leading all trainers with 18 nominations is Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher. Pletcher won last year’s Lane’s End Stakes with Flower Alley, now one of the top older horses in the country. Among Pletcher’s nominees for the 2006 running is Keyed Entry, who earlier this month defeated First Samurai, another nominee, in the Grade II Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park.
Bob Baffert has nominated 12 to the Lane’s End including Mr. Sekiguchi, at $8 million the highest-priced yearling ever sold. Mr. Sekiguchi was second by half a length at Santa Anita in his only start so far.
Among three nominees from the barn of Dale Romans is Dawn of War, winner of the Grade I Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last fall.
Patrick Biancone, who has three nominees on the list, recently brought Kilimanjaro to his barn at Turfway to train over the Polytrack surface.
One of Neil Drysdale’s two nominees is Your Tent or Mine, a graded-stakes winner and runner-up to Brother Derek in the Grade I Hollywood Futurity.
Four other stakes races support the Lane’s End undercard, including the Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup, a Kentucky Oaks prep that for the first time gains Grade III status. Also on the card are the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway, also for three-year-olds, and the Queen and the Hansel, both sprints. Horses nominated to the Lane’s End Stakes are automatically nominated to the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes this Saturday and the Rushaway and Hansel stakes.
The complete list of nominations is available at www.turfway.com.