River Downs

River Downs

Courtesy River Downs

Cradle Stakes Gets New Sponsor for 2009

The Cradle Stakes at River Downs has a new sponsor.

from River Downs

The longest continuously sponsored Thoroughbred race in the United States will switch sponsors this year.

The marquee race at River Downs in Ohio will now be titled the $200,000 Budweiser Select Cradle Stakes. Since 1977, the Miller Brewing Co. had sponsored Ohio’s richest race for 2-year-olds.

“Over the past several years, Heidelberg Distributing has increased its presence here at River Downs by sponsoring numerous promotions and advertising events,” River Downs spokesman John Engelhardt said. “It’s surely not a stretch to embrace them as partners in our biggest race of the year. The Budweiser representatives have been very proactive in marketing their brands here at River Downs.”

The Labor Day feature will be run for the 33rd time. It’s the first major stakes in the U.S. for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Previously contested on the main track, the Cradle Stakes was moved to the turf in 2007 to serve as a prep for the new $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Two Horses of the Year, a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner, two Derby second-place finishers, and a number of graded stakes winners have graduated from the Cradle Stakes.

River Downs opens for live racing April 18. The Cradle is slated for the Sept. 7 closing-day program.