Sunday, February 29, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 29, 2004 . . . As surely as daffodils precede roses, so the Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park precedes the most coveted roses of all—the Kentucky Derby winner’s blanket. The centerpiece of Turfway’s spring racing schedule, the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes celebrates its 33rd running this year on March 20, the first day of spring. Some of the most prominent and competitive trainers in the country have nominated their horses to the Lane’s End Stakes, a prep for the Run for the Roses.
Giveaways and commemoratives
Three weeks of racing, promotions, and festivities began yesterday with Silver Minister’s decisive victory in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, the last local prep for the Lane’s End. The fun continues Saturday, March 6, when the first 1,500 patrons through the Turfway gates will receive a free Lane’s End Stakes hat. One week later, March 13, the first 2,000 patrons will receive a free 2004 commemorative Lane’s End glass to keep their collections up-to-date.
Fifth Third Bank sponsors third annual Charity Night at the Tables
Also on March 13, Charity Night at the Tables takes over Turfway’s Terrace Room from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and presented by Turfway and the Northern Kentucky Leadership Foundation, the lively evening of Monte Carlo-style games benefits six Northern Kentucky charities: Holly Hill Children’s Services; the Steinford Toy Foundation; Parish Kitchen; Family Nurturing Center; Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky; and Campbell Lodge Boys’ Home.
Local radio and TV personalities will be on hand as dealers, including Tom Sussi, Paul Horton, and Rich Appuzzo from Fox 19; Mike Nichols and Mark Massaro from Storm Team 5, and Eddie Fingers from WEBN. Organizers promise some “surprise” celebrity dealers as well. DJ Steve Bender from MIX 94.1 will spin the music.
Players at Charity Night at the Tables designate play-money winnings to one or more of the charities. At the Call to the Post luncheon the following Thursday, a representative from each charity will try to pick the winner of the Lane’s End Stakes. The charity choosing the winning horse (or the horse that finishes highest among those chosen) receives $10,000. The remaining five groups receive $2,000 each.
New to the event this year is the Turfway Texas Hold ‘em Tournament, a chance for one charity to add an extra $1,000 to its coffers.
Race week begins with more charity events
Lane’s End Stakes week begins Monday, March 15, with the annual invitation-only dinner sponsored by the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) for the track’s horsemen. Proceeds from an auction at the dinner will go to the Michael Rowland Fund, established for the family of the jockey who died February 9 after a fall on the Turfway track.
Next up is the Crawfish Boil on Tuesday, March 16. The spread-‘em-out-and-dig-in feast annually benefits Turfway charities; this year the proceeds also go to the Michael Rowland Fund.
Call to the Post set for March 18
Post positions for the Lane’s End Stakes will be drawn at the Call to the Post luncheon on Thursday, March 18. The luncheon, scheduled for noon in the Terrace Room on Turfway’s third floor, is open to the public. Tickets are $35 each; tables of 10 are $300.
Maker’s Mark sponsors VIP Tent
The Lane’s End VIP Tent is once again sponsored by Maker’s Mark, Kentucky’s historic distillery of premium bourbon. Reserved seats in the Maker’s Mark VIP Tent are $150 and include a buffet and open bar; tables of 10 may be reserved for $1,500. Reserved seating is available in other areas as well. Valet and VIP Tent parking is $5.
General admission to the Lane’s End Stakes is $10. General parking is free.
In addition to the featured Lane’s End Stakes, racing on March 20 includes the $50,000 Queen Stakes, the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes, the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup, and the $60,000 Hansel Stakes. First post on this full day of top Thoroughbred racing competition is 12:30 p.m. EST to accommodate national coverage by ESPN2.
Tickets for Charity Night at the Tables are available by calling Ruth Eger at (859) 578-6388.
Tickets for all other Lane’s End Stakes events and reserved seating for the race itself are available by calling Turfway Park’s main number at 859-371-0200 or (800) 733-0200 or Group Sales Manager Amy Leigh at (859) 647-4846 or (800) 815-2807.