The $200,000, 1 1/16-mile stakes for 2-year-olds is a grade III event this year. Two Horses of the Year, a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner, two Derby runner-ups, and a number of graded stakes winners have graduated from the Cradle, which this year will be held Sept. 6, closing day of the River Downs meet.Pepsi sponsors River Downs' other major open stakes, the $100,000 Pepsi Bassinet Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs. That race will be run Sept. 4.
The Cradle Stakes, believed to have the longest running race sponsorship by one company, will have a new name in 2005, but the sponsor remains intact.The River Downs race has been sponsored by the Miller Brewing Co. for 28 years, according to officials at the Ohio racetrack. It has been called the Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes, but next year will be called the Miller Lite Cradle Stakes."The race has become an anxiously anticipated event in Cincinnati, and one that both locals and visitors set their calendars by," Ronald Platner, president of H. Dennert Distributing, said in a release. "We hope that by assigning our strongest Miller brand to the race, we will continue to enhance a wonderful event and introduce more people into our community."