Contenders to Consider in Grade 1 Stephen FosterRead this article
Turfway Park Race Track
Turfway Park has been an integral part of the Kentucky racing circuit since 1959. In many regards, the Northern Kentucky racetrack has been a pioneer for the industry. In 1982, the track became the first in Kentucky to offer patrons simulcast wagering. The most noteworthy change occurred in 2005 when Turfway became the first track in North America to install and compete over Polytrack, a then-revolutionary synthetic surface.
Turfway Park Horse Racing
Turfway Park offers two separate live racing meets throughout the year. Their Holiday meet runs through December and their Winter/Spring session goes from January through early April. The track is a one-mile oval made up of Polytrack, a blend of wax-coated fibers and sand with an elaborate drainage system.
Major Races and Events
Though it has undergone several name changes over the years, the Horseshoe Casino Spiral Stakes has been the premier event held at Turfway Park. Originally a key prep for the Bluegrass Stakes and then ultimately the Kentucky Derby, the race has attracted more turf and synthetic specialists in recent years because of the Polytack. The track also hosts the Bourbonette Oaks which was designed to be a prep for the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
The Spiral Stakes, often run the third weekend in March, has routinely attracted a top caliber group of horses. Contested at a mile and an eighth, even the synthetic surface has not been a major deterrent for major Kentucky Derby contenders. In 2011, Animal Kingdom launched himself into the Derby picture with a sharp win and went on the win the Run for the Roses that year.
The filly equivalent of the Spiral Stakes, the Bourbonette Oaks has been run since 1983 at the distance of one mile. Mark Casse got the ball rolling with a victory in the inaugural edition in 1983 and has dominated the race with five victories, most recently in 2007 with Sealy Hill. Jockey Pat Day was also a formidable threat in the race with a remarkable six victories from 1987 to 2002.
John Battaglia Memorial Stakes
Turfway Park also hosts the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, held annually in March since 1982. Though ungraded, the mile and a sixteenth race offers a purse of $100,000. The race is named in honor of the track’s former general manager and the father of the current announcer, Mike Battaglia.