Tuesday, March 19, 2013 12:00 AM
Supporting Events Highlight Turfway Park's Premier Race Day
FLORENCE, Ky., March 18, 2013 – The $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park may be the star of the show this Saturday, but the supporting cast offers fun and excitement ranging from the VIP experience in the massive party tent to an international race featuring jockeys from around the world.
The venue has a new name, but the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes VIP Tent continues its decades-long tradition as the place to see and be seen on Spiral day. The 100-foot wide, open-truss structure stretches 408 feet along the homestretch of the one-mile oval racetrack and seats as many as 2,200 guests. The black and gold décor will echo the elegance of the new Cincinnati casino, while Las Vegas-style showgirls will bring the glamour. The vast structure, which requires more than a week to construct, features a raised floor, heaters, and transparent sidewalls that can be raised if the weather cooperates.
Horseshoe Casino Executive Chef Sets VIP Menu
The grand buffet, exclusive to the VIP Tent, will have the Horseshoe's legendary touch as well. The casino's executive chef, Pete Ghione, has planned a menu featuring Jack Binion Steak Signature Spiced Prime Rib, Seared Shrimp and Tortellini, Crispy Skinned Chicken Bourguignon, and a variety of salads and vegetables. Topping off the meal is a brand-new signature dessert designed just for the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes VIP Tent.
Guests also will enjoy the VIP Tent's premium open bar, including specialty bars hosted by Leinenkugel, Blue Moon, and the day’s official beer, Miller Lite. New to the tent this year is the Pinnacle Bar Experience, which will offer a Bloody Mary bar for early arrivals and later a whimsical fishbowl bar where guests can enjoy such vodka concoctions as Getting Lucky in Kentucky and Bet on Red. Popular bourbon distiller Maker's Mark returns to the tent this year after a two-year absence.
The annual arrival of the Spiral Stakes means Turfway will be pouring the track’s popular "green drink," a blend of vodka, white rum, triple sec, tequila, gin, Blue Curaçao, pineapple juice, and orange juice. The track will mix up 300 gallons of the drink, which is available only during Spiral Stakes events and is served in the race's souvenir glass.
The Greg Lee Trio returns this year, providing stylish dance and dinner music to complement the VIP experience.
The star of the show is the 42nd running of the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes, which at $550,000 offers its highest purse in more than a decade. Guests in the VIP Tent can place their bets at the tent's private windows and watch the races on 12' x 12' projection screens and more than 40 flat screens around the room or from the private viewing area along the rail. Screens around the tent and the grandstand also will be tuned to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament should area teams be scheduled to play on race day.
Saks Joins Luxury Shopping Lineup
Between races, guests in the VIP Tent can indulge in luxury shopping. Triple Crown Hats returns this year with hats and fascinators to complete race fans' Derby finery, and Fabulous Furs will offer Donna Salyers' famous faux furs. Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes logo apparel and commemorative pins and glassware also will be available in the tent. New to the venue this year is upscale retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, which will offer a pop-up store and lip bar inside the tent.
Ticket Options Reach from the Rail to the Top of the Park
Other reserved seats at the Spiral Stakes offer buffet service and cash bar, including the Top of the Park and Bluegrass Boxes, both of which provide panoramic views of the track. The trackside Homestretch restaurant has been sold out since February. Reserved seats without food service also are available. All reserved areas are smoke-free except Players' Row on the track side of the first floor. In keeping with racing tradition, business casual to dressy attire is required in all dining areas.
Reservations range from $25 to $175. General admission is $10, with first come, first served seating in the grandstand and on the track apron. Guests may bring lawn chairs to supplement bench seating on the apron. Food and drinks may not be brought to the track.
After 5 p.m. Tues., March 19, VIP Tent tickets will be available only through Ticketmaster or at the gate. Parking is free; valet parking is available.
The day's undercard stakes are the $100,000 Fathead Bourbonette Oaks and the $75,000 Team Valor International Rushaway Stakes, both sponsored for the first time this year. The Spiral Stakes and the Bourbonette Oaks, both Grade 3, are designated points races that respectively qualify horses for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
Challenge Race Lends International Flair
The Spiral Stakes 12-race card also offers the BCTC International Catch a Riding Star challenge race, presented by Bluegrass Community and Technical College, the affiliated college of the North American Racing Academy (NARA) in Lexington. The race pits jockeys who graduated from NARA against jockeys who graduated from riding schools around the world. Scheduled to ride for Team USA are jockeys from Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, Indiana, and Kentucky, while riders from India, Sweden, France, Germany, Puerto Rico, and Panama are scheduled to compete for Team World. Turfway and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will donate their share of wagers made on the race to support NARA’s stable of retired racehorses, who provide students with indispensable hands-on experience.
Even more retired racehorses will benefit from displays and sales kiosks staffed by four agencies that work to retrain and adopt out “Turfway” horses; that is, horses whose last race came at Turfway or who were stabled at Turfway at the time of their retirement. The agencies—the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, New Vocations, Second Stride, and CANTER Kentucky—will receive checks on Spiral Stakes day from the Turfway Aftercare Program. The program is funded by owners, who contribute one dollar for each horse they start at Turfway during the year, and by the track, which matches the owners' contribution. The distribution for 2012 will top $13,000.
Turfway's gates open Saturday at 10 a.m. The VIP Tent opens at 11 a.m. First post is 1:10 p.m. The Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes is the 10th race and is scheduled to go off at 5:48 p.m.