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Thursday, March 9, 2017 10:34 PM
  • Spiral Stakes

Corrected 3/11/17: the Rushaway Stakes is black type, not listed as previously noted.

Annual Derby Prep Race and Party Herald Spring in Northern Kentucky

FLORENCE, Ky. (March 09, 2017) – With $500,000 and a spot in the Kentucky Derby field on the line, plans are in full swing for the 46th running of the JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, March 25. The race, which offers points toward the legendary Derby, is the highlight of the Thoroughbred racetrack’s season.

Far more than a horse race, the Spiral Stakes is also the centerpiece of Northern Kentucky’s biggest annual springtime party.

The luxury ticket is the VIP tent, a fully enclosed, heated, open-truss structure that sits along the homestretch of the one-mile racetrack. With sides that roll up for mild weather, the lavishly decorated tent seats 1,500 guests. Race fans in the VIP tent will enjoy a grand buffet including southern specialties, a cupcake tower and premium open bar as well as chances to take home high-end door prizes and silent auction items. Each guest also will receive the day’s race program and a commemorative stemless wine glass decorated with the 2017 Spiral Stakes logo. Between races, entertainment will be provided by the Eden Park Band in their first Spiral appearance.

Among items up for bids in the silent auction are 50 commemorative Maker’s Mark bottles, with artists on hand to draw caricatures of the winning bidders on the labels, and round trip airfare to New York and Chicago provided by Ultimate Air Shuttle. Proceeds from the silent auction benefit Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship.

New to the VIP tent this year is Saddleback Chocolates, a premium chocolatier that specializes in custom chocolates celebrating equine sports. Returning are the unique Stella Artois Airstream and Maker’s Mark bars.

VIP tent tickets are $175 per person and available online or by calling 859-640-3039; tables of 10 are available.

Other reservations offer seats in the RaceBook, grandstand or clubhouse for $25 and $35 and buffet reservations in the dining rooms from $60 to $85. General admission is $5, with seating on the track apron, second floor and third floor available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans are welcome to bring lawn chairs for additional apron seating. Coolers are not permitted. General admission for children 12 and under is free. Tickets for these locations are available by calling 859-371-0200. Detailed information is available at

Treasured Traditions Return

The Thoroughbred racing community treasures its traditions, and for the Spiral Stakes that includes the highly anticipated “green drink,” a lively blend of orange juice, pineapple juice, blue Curaçao, gin, tequila, rum, and vodka served in the commemorative glass. Turfway’s team will prepare 110 gallons of the drink this year.

Another tradition is the annual cap giveaway. The first 1,200 fans through the gates with paid admission on Spiral Stakes day will receive a free navy and gray cap stitched with the 2017 Spiral Stakes logo.

Artist Robert Clark will bring a racing tradition to Turfway for the first time. Clark’s work illustrates the book A Brush with Greatness, the Art of Thoroughbred Racing, which presents stories and paintings of 79 Grade 1 winners. Clark paints Thoroughbreds exclusively and will be stationed where fans can watch him work, first in the paddock and later in the VIP tent.

Spiral Stakes and Bourbonette Oaks Top 12-Race Day

The Grade 3 Spiral Stakes is a designated points race for the Kentucky Derby, which determines starters by points earned across 37 races in the United States, Dubai and Japan. The companion Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks, run the same day, is a points race for the Kentucky Oaks. The two graded races and the black type Rushaway Stakes highlight the day’s 12-race card.

Gates will open on Spiral Stakes day at 9 a.m. to accommodate most of the World Cup Carnival from Dubai, scheduled the same day. Turfway’s first post is 1:10 p.m. ET.

Entries for the Spiral Stakes will be drawn at the traditional Call to the Post reception, slated to begin at noon Wednesday, March 22, at JACK Cincinnati Casino.

Charities Benefit from Spiral Stakes Events

Turfway Park has long supported efforts to retrain and rehome retired Thoroughbred racehorses and is pleased that the racing industry’s national organization and six Kentucky agencies will be represented at the track on Spiral Stakes day. The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), established in 2012 and supported by industry partners including Turfway, will be recognized after the fifth race. The organization will be joined in the winner’s circle by CANTER Kentucky, New Vocations, the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, Second Stride, The Exceller Fund and the Secretariat Center, all located in Kentucky and all accredited by the TAA. Each group will sell merchandise and accept donations in support of its work.

Charity Night at the Tables, scheduled March 18 at Turfway Park, connects the Spiral Stakes with Monte Carlo-style gaming to benefit eight Northern Kentucky non-profits. Players designate their play-money “winnings” to one or more of the eight charities, and the charity that finishes with the biggest bankroll gets first pick of horses running in the Spiral Stakes. The charity whose horse finishes best takes home $5,000, and the other charities receive descending amounts based on order of finish. Charity Night at the Tables is sponsored by The Yearlings, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Toyota, among other area businesses. Information about the event is available at the Charity Night at the Tables website.


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