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Friday, March 9, 2018 11:30 AM
  • Spiral Stakes

Party Switches to St. Patrick’s Day After Racing

March 8, 2018 (FLORENCE, Ky.) – The first year of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment’s sponsorship adds high shine to the 47th renewal of Turfway Park’s annual Kentucky Derby prep race. With the $200,000 Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks as its centerpiece—the name a play on Thoroughbred racing’s “stakes” designation for top level races—this year’s event is Saturday, March 17.

The Jeff Ruby touch especially will be felt in the VIP tent, the day’s luxury ticket. This year’s grand buffet will be prepared by Jeff Ruby’s acclaimed chefs, who will work their magic on USDA Prime New York strip loin and a variety of sides including the restaurants’ celebrated six-cheese baked macaroni and cheese. The VIP tent ticket also includes premium open bar service.

Rising along the homestretch of Turfway’s one-mile track, the heated, enclosed VIP tent measures 100 by 300 feet and seats 1,500 guests. If mid-March weather cooperates, the sides can be opened for easy access to the tent’s private area for viewing the day’s 12 races.

While the VIP tent has sold out, buffet seating also is available in the grandstand, with tickets for the first, third and fifth floors ranging from $50 to $75 per person. The grandstand buffet menu also gets the Ruby touch, with some dishes prepared using the popular restaurants’ recipes.

Other reserved options include seats in Players’ Row on the first floor, most featuring individual TV monitors, and center sections of the second-floor grandstand that overlooks the racetrack. Seats in either of those areas are $25 per person. Grandstand reservations are available by calling (859) 371-0200.

Smoking is not permitted in the VIP tent or the grandstand with the exception of one section of Players’ Row and the south side of the second floor.

General admission is $5 until 5 p.m. and includes first come, first served seating in non-reserved areas and benches on the track apron. Fans are welcome to bring lawn chairs. Concession stands and bars will be open on the first, second and third floors. Coolers are not permitted, and neither food nor beverages may be brought in.

Traditions Return for Jeff Ruby Steaks Day

Thoroughbred racing is steeped in tradition, and for Turfway on Derby prep day that includes the “green drink,” a fan favorite that blends orange juice, pineapple juice, blue Curaçao, gin, tequila, rum, and vodka in the etched Jeff Ruby Steaks commemorative glass.

Another tradition is the annual hat giveaway. The first 1,200 fans through the gates with paid admission will receive a free hat stitched with the Jeff Ruby Steaks logo.

Artist Robert Clark will return a racing tradition to Turfway for the second year, working where fans can watch him paint a racing scene throughout the day. Clark’s work illustrates the book A Brush with Greatness, the Art of Thoroughbred Racing.

Gates open at 10 a.m. on Jeff Ruby Steaks day. The VIP tent opens at 11 a.m. First post is 1:10 p.m., and the first of the day’s five stakes races goes off at 3:33 p.m. The Jeff Ruby Steaks is the 10th race, with post time at 6 p.m. Parking is free; valet parking is available.

The Jeff Ruby Steaks, formerly the Spiral Stakes, is a qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby, which determines starters by points earned across 45 designated races in the United States, England, Ireland, France, Dubai and Japan. The day boasts four undercard stakes as well: the Bourbonette Oaks (G3), a points race for the Kentucky Oaks, the Rushaway Stakes, Latonia Stakes and revived Kentucky Cup Classic.

The Party Continues for St. Patrick’s Day

Jeff Ruby Steaks day lands on St. Patrick’s Day this year and Turfway never misses a party, so at the end of live racing green beer will be tapped and 4th Day Echo will take the second-floor stage. Admission to the track is free after 5 p.m. to welcome St. Paddy’s Day revelers. Admission to the party is also free.


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