Monday, February 22, 2010 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 22, 2010 . . . The 39th running of Turfway Park's Lane's End Stakes, a Grade II prep race for the Kentucky Derby, has drawn 151 nominations, Racing Secretary Richard S. Leigh announced Monday. The 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-olds is scheduled for March 27.
For years run six weeks before the Kentucky Derby, the Lane's End Stakes this year is scheduled five weeks ahead of the first Saturday in May to accommodate the recent trend toward fewer preps with ample time between them. The Lane’s End Stakes’ $500,000 purse virtually guarantees the winner a spot in the Derby field should more than 20 seek to enter.
WinStar Farms LLC won its first Lane's End Stakes last year with Hold Me Back, trained by Bill Mott. This year WinStar has nominated 10 to the race, including the promising Drosselmeyer, also trained by Mott, and Rule, trained by Todd Pletcher.
For the second straight year, Pletcher represents the most nominations with 13. Pletcher has won the Lane’s End Stakes twice, in 2005 with Flower Alley and in 2001 with Balto Star. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas nominated 11, including Marylou Whitney's Bird Empire and Wow Wow Wow. Lukas won the race in 1983 and 1995, and both wins are noteworthy. In 1983, when the race was known as the Jim Beam Spiral Stakes, the winner Marfa put the race on the national map for the first time as the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. In 1995 Lukas made history when he saddled Serena's Song, the only filly to win what is now the Lane’s End Stakes.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, perennially the leading owners on the Kentucky circuit, own five of this year's nominees, including four trained by Mike Maker. One of the four, Kera's Kitten, was the easy winner of the WEBN Stakes, Turfway's one-mile prep for the Lane's End. Should one or more of their nominees start, the Ramseys would be looking for their first win in the Lane's End Stakes.
The full list of nominees is posted at www.turfway.com.
The Lane's End Stakes undercard features the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks, a one-mile race for three-year-old fillies leading to the Kentucky Oaks (G1); the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway Stakes (listed) for three-year-olds, also a prep for the Derby; the six-furlong Queen Stakes for older fillies and mares; the six-furlong Hansel Stakes for three-year-olds, and this year also the 1 1/16-mile Fairway Fun Stakes for older fillies and mares. All horses nominated to the Lane's End Stakes are also automatically nominated to the John Battaglia Memorial, set to run this Saturday as the final local prep, the Rushaway, and the Hansel.
The Lane’s End Stakes will be televised by USA Network. Gates open at 10am ET on March 27. The first of the day’s 12 races goes off at 1:10pm.
One of the world's leading Thoroughbred operations, Lane's End encompasses about 3,000 acres in the heart of Central Kentucky. The operation also includes a second breeding farm in Texas. Lane's End currently stands 20 stallions in Kentucky, including Curlin, Smart Strike, English Channel, and A. P. Indy, and four in Texas.