Friday, April 10, 2009 12:00 AM
REVISED . . . FLORENCE, KY . . . April 10, 2009 . . . With its Kentucky Derby prep race in the books and several Lane's End Stakes day runners still in the hunt, Turfway Park is planning Greater Cincinnati's Biggest Derby Party on Derby day, Saturday, May 2.
Turfway will open its gates at 10:00 a.m. on Derby day to accommodate the 10:30 a.m. post time of the first race from Churchill Downs. Doors to the Biggest Derby Party, held on the fourth floor, will open at noon. Admission to the track, admission to the party, and parking are free.
First on the party schedule are drink specials from noon to 2:00 p.m. Music begins at 12:30 p.m. with a DJ at the controls. Party band Naked Karate Girls will take the stage live from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Partygoers can compete in stick-pony races, a Derby hat contest, and a wings eating contest sponsored by Hooters to win Kentucky Derby merchandise, Pure Romance gift baskets, gift cards, Budweiser merchandise, and wagering vouchers.
Alongside Turfway's usual concession menu, the Biggest Derby Party will feature such traditional fare as Kentucky Hot Browns and mint juleps.
In addition to or instead of the Biggest Derby Party, fans may reserve seats in the Homestretch restaurant, a non-smoking venue, or in Players' Row. Seating in the Homestretch includes a buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and offers tables with individual TV monitors ($30 per seat) and without monitors ($25 per seat). Seats in Players' Row, each of which has its own monitor, are $5; smoking and non-smoking sections are available. Other seating around the grandstand is free on a first come, first served basis.
The highlight of the day is of course the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Yum! Brands. Approximate post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:04 p.m. ET.
Turfway will accept advance wagers on the entire Derby day card on Friday, May 1. Friday's card from Churchill Downs features the running of the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, the filly counterpart to the Derby.
As of this writing, several horses who ran on Lane's End day either have already secured a spot in the Derby field if their connections choose to enter or remain in the hunt for sufficient graded earnings to make the field. Lane's End winner Hold Me Back, currently 15th on the list with $288,000, has likely secured a spot and will be further prepped in Saturday's Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. Rushaway Stakes winner Cliffy's Future and Loch Dubh, ninth in the Lane's End, also will start in the Blue Grass in search of initial graded earnings. Lane's End runner-up Flying Private, currently 27th on the list, and Rushaway runner-up Ziegfeld both will seek graded earnings in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park. West Side Bernie, who likely had sufficient earnings entering the Lane's End, was sixth in that race but rebounded with a runner-up finish to Derby frontrunner I Want Revenge in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct last weekend, moving to 12th on the list with earnings of $385,160.
Should more than 20 otherwise qualified horses seek to run in the Kentucky Derby, entries are determined by earnings in graded stakes. The lone exception is Mafaaz, who won the automatic "Win and You're In" spot offered by Churchill Downs this year to the winner of the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton Park in England. Mafaaz also is entered for tomorrow's Blue Grass Stakes.