Thursday, March 10, 2005 12:00 AM
ESPN to broadcast live from Turfway
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 10, 2005 . . . The 34th running of the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park is still a couple of weeks away, but festivities surrounding the race are gearing up now. On the calendar beginning this Saturday are charity events, parties, and giveaways leading to the race on March 26.
2nd Maker’s Mark bottle to benefit Cris Collinsworth ProScan Foundation
Kentucky bourbon distiller Maker’s Mark will once again release a limited edition bottle to commemorate the Lane’s End Stakes, and this year a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Foundation. Each .375 ml bottle will be numbered, dated, and dipped in green wax, the color a nod to Lane’s End Farm, the world-class Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding farm that sponsors the race.
With last year’s 1,200 bottles selling out in just a couple of hours, this year Maker’s Mark will release 2,000 of the limited edition collectibles. This year’s bottles go on sale Friday, March 18, and will sell for about $20 at Northern Kentucky retailers.
Maker’s Mark president Bill Samuels Jr. and former Bengal-turned-NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth will be at Turfway Park from 10 a.m. to noon on March 26 to sign the special bottles.
Fifth Third Bank steps up twice
On Saturday, March 19, Fifth Third Bank and The Yearlings will present the fourth annual Charity Night at the Tables, an evening of casino-style gaming at Turfway Park to benefit six Northern Kentucky charities. Players’ play-money “winnings” determine which charity gets first pick of the horses running in the Lane’s End Stakes. The charity whose horse finishes first (or best among the six chosen) receives $10,000. The others receive $2,000. Returning this year is the Turfway Hold ‘em tournament, which earns one of the charities an additional $1,000.
Scheduled to join the fun as celebrity dealers are Dan Carroll from Fox19; Katherine Nero, Cindy Matthews, Steve Norris, and Julie O’Neill from WCPO-TV; Todd Dykes from WLWT; Diane Whalen, mayor of Florence, other local media personalities, and Turfway Park jockeys.
Tickets for Charity Night at the Tables are $50 each and include a buffet, beer, wine, and chips for the tables; registration for Turfway Hold ‘em is an additional $10 ($15 at the door) and is limited to the first 60 to sign up. Tickets and more information are available by calling event chair Ruth Eger, director of Leadership Northern Kentucky, at (859) 578-6388.
Fifth Third Bank also has signed on this year as presenting sponsor of the $50,000 Hansel Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for three year olds run at Turfway Park on Lane’s End Stakes Day.
Giveaways add to collections
On Saturday, March 12, the first 1,500 patrons through the Turfway Park gates will receive a free 2005 Lane’s End Stakes cap. The next Saturday, March 19, the first 2,000 patrons can add the
2005 commemorative Lane’s End Stakes class to their collections, again at no charge. Gates open on both Saturdays at 11:15 a.m.
Post position draw turns focus to race day and Derby hopefuls
Post positions for the Lane’s End Stakes will be drawn on Thursday, March 24, at the annual Call to the Post Luncheon at Turfway Park. The luncheon, scheduled for noon in the third-floor Terrace Room, is open to the public. Tickets are $35 each; tables of 10 are $300.
The party place to be on Lane’s End Stakes Day is the Maker’s Mark VIP Tent, sponsored again by Maker’s Mark, Kentucky’s premier distiller of premium bourbon. Seats in the tent are $150 and include a lavish buffet and open bar.
The day’s other reserved seating options, some including box lunches or buffets, range from $12 to $85. Valet and Maker’s Mark VIP Tent parking are $5. General admission is $10; Lane’s End Day is the only day each year that Turfway Park charges general admission. General parking is free.
Lane’s End one of five stakes on the day; ESPN to broadcast live
The Lane’s End Stakes, run at 1 1/8 miles, is one of five stakes races at Turfway Park on Saturday, March 26. The card also includes the Rushaway Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile contest also for three year olds; the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup; the $50,000 Queen Stakes; and the $50,000 Hansel. The Lane’s End Stakes and the Rushaway Stakes will be televised live on ESPN from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. ET as part of the nine-show series Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. on Lane’s End Stakes Day. First post is 1:10 p.m.
The $500,000 Grade II Lane’s End Stakes has long prepared horses pointing to the Kentucky Derby. With many trainers now opting for just two or at most three prep races for their Derby hopefuls, the stakes are high every time the gate opens on a race the caliber of the Lane’s End Stakes. The race annually draws top trainers and horses from around the country. Last year’s field included Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, the horse that left Smarty Jones one length short of the elusive Triple Crown.
Tickets for the 2005 Lane’s End Stakes on March 26 are available by calling Turfway Park at (859) 371-0200 or (800) 733-0200.