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Traditions, new ideas, fun mark Lane's End Stakes

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 12:00 AM
  • Spiral Stakes
>Maker's Mark VIP Tent and other seating
>Racehorse Adoption Awareness Day
>Charity Night at the Tables
>Call to the Post Luncheon & Post Position Draw
>Commemorative cap and glass giveaways
>Maker's Mark bottle sale and signing

FLORENCE, KY . . . March 10, 2010 . . . Community-linked events and traditions mark the 39th running of the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park, set for March 27. With its $500,000 purse, the Grade II Lane's End virtually guarantees the winner a spot in the Kentucky Derby and has long been a major stop on the Derby trail.

The premier venue for the Lane's End Stakes is the Maker's Mark VIP Tent, with seating for about 1,800 fans. Sponsored since 2002 by Kentucky bourbon distiller Maker's Mark, the tent features Executive Chef Peter Haubi's grand buffet, premium open bar, and live entertainment. New to the tent this year is the Rube Goldberg-inspired Maker's Mark bar, a whimsical collection of moving parts that represents the painstaking process used to make the famed handmade bourbon.

With area teams in the NCAA tournament hunt, the Maker's Mark VIP Tent this year features a March Madness lounge. Fans in the tent also can shop for custom hats from Anne Sawyer's Fabulous Hats of Lexington, faux furs from Donna Salyer's Fabulous Furs, equine-themed gifts and jewelry, and Lane’s End souvenirs. Among door prizes in the tent are furs from Fabulous Furs, theatre tickets, hats from Fabulous Hats, Keeneland box seats, various autographed memorabilia and gift baskets, and an overnight getaway to Horseshoe Casino and Hotel Southern Indiana.

Libby's Gourmet Desserts of Cincinnati will again provide the tent's exclusive dessert, 150 Maker's Mark chocolate cakes. The recipe boasts a generous measure of Maker's Mark bourbon and the cakes are iced to mimic the distillery's famous red wax.

All common areas of the Maker's Mark VIP Tent are non-smoking but a smokers' lounge is provided. The tent is heated, or its sidewalls can be opened to pleasant weather. Tickets to the Maker’s Mark VIP Tent are $175.

Reserved grandstand seating ranges from fifth floor dining with a panoramic view to individual handicapping stations on the first floor. Smoking and non-smoking areas are available and some tickets include buffet service. Reserved grandstand seating is $25 to $80. Other areas are first come, first served with $10 general admission. Tickets are available in advance by calling (859) 371-0200 or at the door.

New to Lane's End day this year is an emphasis on racehorse adoption. Racehorse Adoption Awareness Day brings together five area organizations committed to facilitating adoption of horses whose racing days are over. Exhibitors include Speak Up for Horses of Falmouth, Ky.; New Vocations, central Ohio; CANTER Kentucky, Louisville; the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington; and the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, also based in Lexington. Racehorse Adoption Awareness Day also features a book signing by various authors of Second Chance Horses, published by Eclipse Press.

Alongside this new effort are traditions that surround the Lane's End Stakes, some for decades. One is the signature drink of the day, the Lane’s End Special. Known colloquially as "the green drink," the Special is a lively blend of orange juice, pineapple juice, blue Curaçao, gin, tequila, rum, and vodka served in a commemorative glass. Turfway Concessionaire, Turfway’s in-house catering service, will mix 150 gallons of the traditional cocktail. Another is the annual cap giveaway on March 13, when the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Lane's End Stakes cap. One week later, on March 20, the first 1,500 fans through the gates will receive a free Lane's End Stakes commemorative glass, the 30th in the series. Gates open at 11:15am both Saturdays.

Also on March 20, Turfway will host the 9th annual Charity Night at the Tables, a night of casino gaming to benefit six hometown charities. Guests designate play-money winnings to one or more of the six charities. In order of their totals, the charities then choose among horses entered in the Lane's End Stakes and receive checks for their work depending on how their picks finish. Charity Night admission includes chips for the tables, a grazing buffet, unlimited beer, wine, and soft drinks, and live entertainment. Tickets are $75 and are available by calling (859) 578-8800 or online at Entry in a blackjack tournament is an additional $10. The event runs 7pm to 12:30am in the Maker's Mark VIP Tent and is presented by the Northern Kentucky Leadership Foundation. Presenting sponsorship is provided by Horseshoe Casino and Hotel Southern Indiana.

The six charities will choose their horses at the traditional Call to the Post Luncheon on March 25, when race entries are drawn. The public is invited to the luncheon, which begins at 11:30am and is followed by the day's live racing. Tickets are $35 and available by calling (859) 371-0200. Proceeds from ticket sales again benefit the Gateway Community and Technical College Foundation.

Another race day tradition is the signing of the commemorative Lane’s End Stakes Maker's Mark bottle. This year's bottle, on sale March 19, honors the 1990 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds. The bottle will be signed March 27 by Bill Samuels Jr., president of Maker's Mark, and players from the championship team, names to be announced next week. The signing runs 8am to 11am at Gate B at Turfway. Free tickets for the signing will be distributed to the first 400 people in line. Only persons 21 years of age or older may receive a ticket, and only the 2010 bottle will be signed. Each person with a ticket may have two bottles signed.

The Lane's End Stakes this year is supported by five undercard stakes: the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks, a prep for the Kentucky Oaks; the Rushaway Stakes and the Hansel Stakes for three-year-olds; and the Queen Stakes and Fairway Fun Stakes for older fillies and mares.

The Lane's End Stakes has been sponsored since 2002 by Lane's End Farm, one of the most respected Thoroughbred operations in the world and 10 times the leading farm in North America. Covering more than 3,000 acres of Central Kentucky bluegrass and including additional acreage in Texas, the farm is owned by William S. Farish, former U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James's.

In addition to Maker's Mark's sponsorship of the VIP Tent, additional sponsorship is provided by Miller Brewing Company, the official beer of the Lane's End Stakes.

Parking is free for all events at Turfway; valet parking on Lane's End day is $5. In addition to the Turfway lot, parking is available at ZF Lenksysteme, 15 Spiral Drive, less than half a mile's walk.

Gates to the races open at 10am on Lane's End day. The Maker's Mark VIP Tent opens at 11:30am. First post is 1:10pm.

The Lane's End Stakes will be televised on USA Network and broadcast by Horse Racing Radio Network.

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