Fifth Third Bank, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based financial institution, will become the signature sponsor of two major stakes races on the Kentucky horse racing circuit. Fifth Third will sponsor Keeneland's Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIIT) and Turfway Park's Hansel Stakes. The Fifth Third Hansel Stakes, a $50,000 race run at six furlongs for 3-year-olds, will be run on March 26 as part of Lane's End Stakes Day. The Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes will be run on Keeneland's closing day, Friday, April 29, and is contested at 1 1/2 miles on the turf for horses four years old and up.With the addition of Fifth Third's sponsorship, Keeneland has increased the purse for the race to $200,000-a boost of $50,000. "Fifth Third Bank is excited to sponsor these stakes races and to partner with two legendary horse racing tracks," said Sam Barnes, president and CEO of Fifth Third of Central Kentucky. "We believe it's important as one of the leading banks in Kentucky to support an industry that is a jewel of the Commonwealth."
In a joint statement, Keeneland president Nick Nicholson and Turfway Park president Bob Elliston said, "We wish to applaud Fifth Third for becoming such an enthusiastic sponsor of Kentucky racing. We look forward to working with them this spring and in future years."