(Edited press release)
Live coverage of the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park will be featured on the first of four “NTRA Racing to the Kentucky Derby” programs March 21 from 5 to 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The $100,000 Rushaway Stakes, another stakes event at Turfway for 3-year-olds, will also air live on the program. Hosting the telecast at Turfway will be Joe Tessitore, joined by analysts Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss, reporters Jeannine Edwards and Jay Privman, and handicapper Hank Goldberg.
The four “NTRA Racing to the Kentucky Derby” telecasts will spotlight many of the top contenders bidding for a start in the May 3 Run for the Roses.In 2007, the Lane’s End winner, Hard Spun, went on to finish second in both the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge.
The likely race favorite in the Lane’s End is West Side Bernie, who won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) last year over this same Turfway Park strip and finished a creditable third despite a wide trip in his lone 2009 outing, the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 31.
Bittel Road ships in from California for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Stormy Atlantic was beaten only two lengths last time out by top Derby contender Pioneerof the Nile in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita. In 2008, he accounted for two stakes wins over the grass. Hold Me Back has yet to race in 2009, but last year he was a perfect two-for-two in races run over synthetic tracks for his trainer, Bill Mott.