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Celebrities and Traditions Highlight Turfway Park’s Spiral Stakes Celebration

Thursday, March 24, 2016 2:38 PM
  • Spiral Stakes

Celebrities and Traditions Highlight Turfway Park’s Spiral Stakes Celebration

FLORENCE, Ky. (March 24, 2016) – The horses will need less than two minutes to battle for the $500,000 Horseshoe Casino Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday, April 2, but the party surrounding the Kentucky Derby prep race will last all day. The Spiral Stakes is the feature of 12 races on the day.

The raising of the massive Spiral Stakes VIP Tent at Turfway is a sure sign of spring in Northern Kentucky. The open-span structure is 408 feet long and seats 2,000. Guests will enjoy the tent’s deluxe buffet, open bar, prizes, shopping, private viewing area and wagering windows, live entertainment and a Maker’s Mark charity auction.

At $175 the VIP Tent is the day’s premier ticket, but options are available for every budget. General admission is $5, with no charge for children 12 and under. Reservations in the grandstand range from $25 to $80, some including buffet. Parking is free; valet parking is available.

“We don’t want anyone to miss the excitement of the Spiral Stakes,” said General Manager Chip Bach. “The Spiral is one of just 35 races in the world that qualify horses to run in the Kentucky Derby, and it’s right here in Florence. It puts our town on the map in the racing world. The Commonwealth is the Horse Capital of the World, the Kentucky Derby is the world’s most legendary race, and we’re proud to be an integral part of that heritage.”

Gates open on Spiral Stakes day at 10 a.m. The first race runs at 1:10 p.m. Early arrivals get a bonus: the first 1,000 fans receive a free Spiral Stakes cap with paid admission.

Sponsors for the day include the feature’s title sponsor, Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, as well as Dillard’s, Ultimate Air Shuttle, Kroger, Maker’s Mark, Stella Artois and Abbey Florist.

Celebrity Chef Rich Rosendale Cooks for Spiral Stakes

Rich Rosendale, host of television’s Emmy-nominated Recipe Rehab, is the talent behind this year’s VIP Tent menu as well as elements of the grandstand buffets. One of just 67 chefs to earn Certified Master Chef distinction from the American Culinary Federation, Rosendale was executive chef at West Virginia’s tony Greenbrier Resort from 2009 to 2013 before leaving to develop his own brand.

Among temptations on the VIP Tent menu are hand-carved beef brisket; slow smoked, maple glazed turkey breast; corn pudding soufflé; and a mac-and-cheese bar.

Derby Winner Funny Cide to Lead Spiral Parade

Turfway is honored to welcome 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide on Spiral Stakes day. The celebrated gelding, now a resident of the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions, will come to the paddock at 11:15 a.m. and then stop near the VIP Tent for a longer visit. Later he will return to the paddock with the field for the Bourbonette Oaks, a points race for the Kentucky Oaks. Under the care of his handler, Kentucky Horse Park Equine Operations Director Ronan Cunningham, Funny Cide will then lead the field for the Spiral Stakes on to the track.

Spiral Stakes Celebrates Charitable—and Other—Traditions

Traditions are hallowed in racing and none more than the Spiral Stakes’ association with hometown charities. This year that outreach spans the Ohio River. In the VIP Tent, guests can bid on 50 Maker’s Mark bottles sporting the familiar red wax but blank labels. After the hammer rings down each winning bid, caricature artists will draw the winner’s face on the label. All proceeds benefit Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship, which serves children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted activities.

South of the river, six Northern Kentucky charities benefit from the outcome of Charity Night at the Tables, held March 19. Charity Night challenges selected organizations to turn out guests for a night of charity gaming. In order of each charity’s “winnings,” a representative then picks a horse to win the Spiral Stakes. The charity whose horse finishes best receives $5,000. Hoping they pick a winner are Boone County CASA, Henry Hosea House, Steinford Toy Foundation, Parish Kitchen, Emergency Cold Shelter of Northern Kentucky and Milestones.

Jockeys will be available near the paddock to sign autographs for donations to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, which supports about 60 riders disabled in on-track accidents. While supplies last, a poster showcasing current riders will be available for signing.

Agencies that retrain and rehome retired racehorses also will be on hand to accept donations and sell items to support their work. Represented will be Kentucky Equine Humane Center, CANTER Kentucky, and Second Stride.

A less serious but no less anticipated tradition is the annual mixing of the Spiral Stakes green drink. Available only on Spiral Stakes day, the drink combines vodka, white rum, triple sec, tequila, gin, Blue Curaçao, pineapple juice and orange juice in a souvenir glass. Food and Beverage Director Matt Haws will mix 110 gallons of the signature drink this year.

Some reserved areas of the grandstand are sold out; other areas and the VIP Tent are nearly so. General admission seating is available first come, first served in the grandstand and on the track apron; fans also may bring lawn chairs for outdoor seating. Coolers are not permitted.

VIP Tent tickets are available by calling (859) 912-4186 or at Ticketmaster. Other reservations are available by calling (859) 371-0200 or (800) 733-0200. For more information, visit


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