Thursday, September 23, 2010 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Sept. 23, 2010 – Horsemen based at Turfway Park are teaming with the Thoroughbred race track to present an interactive Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, Oct. 2. Festivities begin at 1:00 p.m. Racing begins shortly after.
The idea for Fan Appreciation Day was developed by the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), who voted to help finance the event with funds from their purse account. The purse account provides prize money for races and is funded by wagering revenues.
The day will focus on family fun, appreciation for fans who have supported the track through half a century, and introducing newcomers to the unique excitement of Thoroughbred racing.
"Kentucky horseracing is rich in tradition and pageantry, and as owners and breeders we were looking for a way to showcase that," said HBPA board member Dave England. "What better way than a fun-filled day to interact with our fans and introduce new fans to the thrill of Kentucky racing.
"As horsemen, we've seen Kentucky's grand traditions begin to erode, for reasons well documented," England continued. "We want to bring people back to the track, or introduce them for the first time to the excitement of racing. With all the events planned, fans of all ages will have great day."
All the day’s events are free and most will be housed in the Fan Appreciation Day tent, trackside between the paddock and the rail. Admission and parking also are free.
With family budgets in mind, the track will offer draft beer, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, popcorn, ice cream and soft drinks for a dollar each.
Children can enjoy pony rides in the paddock, play on a specially built outdoor playset, have fun with facepainting, balloon art, and magic shows, and meet the track's escort ponies. Jockeys with mounts on the day will autograph a limited number of racing goggles for children.
Forté, a Cincinnati barbershop quartet that performs regularly at Kings Island, will entertain the crowd during the middle of the racing program.
Hands-on displays in the tent will include racing horseshoes, tack, and other equipment. Near the tent, a farrier will demonstrate the special care given to racehorses’ hooves. Trainers and jockeys will be on hand to answer questions about their work and equipment.
Special two-legged guests include Steve Cauthen, Hall of Famer and the last jockey to win the Triple Crown; Mike Manganello, who rode Dust Commander to win the 1970 Kentucky Derby; and former jockeys Tony D'Amico, Bill Troilo, and Jeff Johnston.
Multi-millionaire gelding Brass Hat, expected as the day's special four-legged guest, will parade in the paddock before the featured ninth race. Trained by Buff Bradley, Brass Hat was based at Turfway through most of his career and owns two stakes wins at the track.
Unique door prizes include wagering vouchers for $25 and $100, visits to Mike Battaglia's perch above the track as he calls a race, visits to the stables to see trainers prepare horses for racing, and photos in the winner's circle. The day's grand prize is a 42" plasma television.
Turfway will give away up to 1,000 free racing programs in the tent to fans who register. Included in that number are free programs for those who attend one of several short handicapping sessions. Fans 18 years old and up who attend a session also will receive a free $2 wagering voucher. Space in the sessions is limited.
The first 200 visitors to the tent who sign up for e-news from Turfway will receive a free Fan Appreciation Day t-shirt. An additional 300 t-shirts will be given away throughout the day.