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Johnny Bench Honored with Fifth Annual Turfway Park/Maker's Mark Bottle

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 12:00 AM
  • Spiral Stakes
Events include Hall of Fame dinner, Nuxhall exhibit preview, bottle signing

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 26, 2008 . . . Johnny Bench, National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher and member of the legendary Big Red Machine, is being honored with the fifth annual limited edition bottle commemorating the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park.

The label on the special 375 ml bottles features a classic photograph of Bench standing with catcher's mask in one hand and mitt in the other. Maker's Mark will produce only 3,000 numbered bottles. The bottles will go on sale Friday, March 14, at area liquor retailers in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Proceeds from the sale of this year's bottle and related events will benefit the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Bench, Maker's Mark president Bill Samuels Jr., and Turfway Park president Robert Elliston will sign bottles from 10 AM to 12 Noon on Saturday, March 22, at Gate B of the main building of Turfway Park. Beginning at 9 AM, 400 tickets will be distributed for the signing, limited to one ticket per person. Each person may bring two bottles for the signing. Only the 2008 bottles will be signed.

The night prior, a special dinner will be held Friday, March 21, from 6 PM to 9 PM at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. The event will include an evening with Reds Hall of Famers, live music, a commemorative souvenir, and a silent auction. Guests also will preview "The Ol' Lefthander," an exhibit in tribute to longtime Reds broadcaster Joe Nuxhall. The exhibit opens to the public the following day. Nuxhall and his broadcasting partner Marty Brennaman were honored on the 2007 commemorative bottle. Tickets for the Hall of Fame event are $75; call Carolyn at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum (513) 765-7924.

The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is a non-profit organization that seeks to record, preserve and promote the tradition and history of the Cincinnati Reds, its importance to the development of the game of baseball, and its significance to the culture and economy of the region. The organization celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Previous Lane's End Stakes commemorative bottle releases benefited the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Foundation, the Oscar and Yvonne Robertson Family Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Reds Community Fund, and One Way Farm.

Set for Saturday, March 22, this year's race marks the 37th running of the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes, a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby and Turfway Park's most prestigious race. The day's premium venue is the Maker's Mark VIP Tent, with buffet, open bar and live music; tickets are $175. Other reserved seating is available for $25 to $80, some with buffet. General admission is $10. Parking is free; valet parking is available. Gates open at 10 AM, with first post at 1:10 PM. For tickets, call (859) 371-0200.

The Lane's End Stakes is sponsored by Lane's End Farm of Versailles, Kentucky, one of the world’s leading Thoroughbred operations. Lane’s End is owned by William S. Farish, former ambassador to the Court of St. James's.

(Revised: adds race date)

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