The 39th running of Turfway Park’s Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) has drawn 151 nominations. The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prep race is scheduled for March 27.
The Lane's End, which for years was run six weeks before the Derby, is this year scheduled five weeks ahead of the Run for the Roses to accommodate the recent trend toward fewer prep races with ample time between races. The $500,000 Lane’s End’s purse virtually guarantees the winner a spot in the Derby field.
The 2009 Lane’s End was won by WinStar Farms’ Hold Me Back . This year WinStar has nominated 10 to the race, including the promising Drosselmeyer , trained by Bill Mott, and Rule, trained by Todd Pletcher.
For the second straight year, Pletcher represents the most nominations with 13. Pletcher has won the Lane’s End twice: in 2005 with Flower Alley, and in 2001 with Balto Star. D. Wayne Lukas, who won the race in 1983 with Kentucky Derby favorite Marfa and in 1995 with Serena's Song, the only filly to win the race, has nominated 11, including Marylou Whitney’s Bird Empire and Wow Wow Wow.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, perennially the leading owners on the Kentucky circuit, own five of this year’s nominees, four of which are trained by Mike Maker. One of the four, Kera's Kitten, was the easy winner of the WEBN Stakes, Turfway’s one-mile prep race for the Lane’s End. Should one or more of their horses start, the Ramseys will be looking for their first win in the Lane’s End.
The full list of nominees can be found at www.turfway.com.
The Lane’s End undercard will feature five additional stakes: the one-mile Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies, a prep for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I); The 1 1/16-mile Rushaway Stakes for 3-year-olds, also a Kentucky Derby prep; the six furlong Hansel Stakes for 3-year-olds; and the 1 1/16-mile Fairway Fun Stakes for older fillies and mares. All horses nominated to the Lane’s End are automatically nominated to the Feb. 27 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park, the Rushaway, and the Hansel.
The Lane’s End Stakes will be televised by USA Network. Gates open at 10 a.m. EST March 27. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.