Monday, March 2, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 2, 2009 . . . Boomer Esiason, former NFL quarterback and now on-air analyst for CBS' NFL Today, will be honored with the sixth annual Maker's Mark bottle released to commemorate the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park, announced Maker's Mark president Bill Samuels Jr. and Turfway president Robert Elliston.
Maker's Mark will produce only 6,000 of the limited edition 375 ml bottles. The bottles will go on sale Friday, March 13, at liquor retailers in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and will cost about $23 depending on the retailer. The black-and-silver label features Esiason’s picture capped by the name Boomer and flanked by yardage markers. Each bottle will be hand-numbered and dipped in black wax instead of Maker's Mark's traditional red wax.
Proceeds from the sale of the bottle will benefit the Boomer Esiason Foundation, established by Esiason and his wife, Cheryl, in 1993 after their son, Gunnar, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. The foundation funds research aimed at finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and works to improve the quality of life of the 30,000 Americans living with the disease.
Esiason, Samuels, and Elliston will sign bottles at Turfway Park, Gate B, from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, the morning of the Lane's End Stakes. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., 400 free tickets for the signing will be distributed on a first come-first served basis. Signing tickets are available only to persons 21 years and older and are limited to one per person. Each ticketholder may bring two bottles to be signed. Only the 2009 bottle will be signed.
The bottle commemorates the 38th running of the Grade II Lane's End Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race for Thoroughbreds aiming for the Kentucky Derby. With its $500,000 purse, the race virtually guarantees the winner a spot in the Derby field, which is limited to 20 starters. This year's Lane’s End Stakes is set for Saturday, March 21, at Turfway Park. Tickets for the race range from general admission at $10 to the Maker's Mark VIP Tent at $175 and are available by calling (859) 371-0200.
Esiason set 17 school records for passing and total offense as a standout quarterback for the University of Maryland and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1984. He led the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII in 1988 and was that year's National Football League Most Valuable Player. He also quarterbacked for the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals and ranks among the top 10 in the NFL in all-time passing yards, career completions, and career attempts. He was selected to the Pro-Bowl four times during his 14-year career.
Much in demand as a football analyst and commentator since his retirement in 1997, Esiason has appeared on major market and national radio as well as on the FoxSports, ABC, NBC, USA, and CBS television networks.
Previously released limited edition bottles commemorating the Lane's End Stakes 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 on behalf of Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall, respectively; and the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund and Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Lane's End Stakes is sponsored by Lane's End of Versailles, Ky., recognized as one of the world’s leading Thoroughbred operations and ranked first among North America’s stud farms for 10 years, seven consecutively. The farm stands such influential stallions as A. P. Indy, Smart Strike, and Kingmambo and this year added two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and champion two-year-old War Pass to its stallion roster. Lane's End is owned by William S. Farish, former United States ambassador to the Court of St. James's.