Turfway Park paddock

Turfway Park paddock

Anne M. Eberhardt

Turfway Park Holiday Meet Begins Nov. 29

Track to present eight races nightly Wednesday-Saturday as well as Sunday, Dec. 31.

Thoroughbred racing returns to Turfway Park Wednesday, Nov. 29, the start of the Northern Kentucky track's holiday meet. The track will present eight races nightly Wednesday through Saturday as well as Sunday, Dec. 31. Admission and parking are free. First post is 6:15 p.m. ET.

Two $50,000 black type stakes for horses 3 years old and up highlight the meet: the Holiday Inaugural Stakes Dec. 1, six furlongs for fillies and mares, and the 1 1/16-mile Prairie Bayou Stakes Dec. 29.

Happy Hour, Dollar Fridays, Fan Appreciation, New Year's Eve among Holiday Events

New to the holiday meet is Happy Hour in the Homestretch restaurant and bar, 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Open varying hours Wednesday through Sunday, the Homestretch offers casual American dining, with sandwiches from $7 to $10.50 and entrées from $10 to $13. Given Turfway's winter schedule, popular items include classic comfort food such as house-made soups and chili, chicken pot pie, hot brown, meatloaf and smoked brisket. 

Dollar Fridays are back, again offering $1 drafts, sodas, hot dogs and bets as well as live music from local cover bands. New this year, the dollar hot dog will be crafted by Cincinnati's own Queen City Sausage. The season's first Dollar Friday, Dec. 1, is also Fan Appreciation Night, with giveaways to the first 750 fans through the doors beginning at 5:30 p.m., a drawing for a 55" LG Smart Ultra 4K TV, music from Bad Habit, handicapping tips from the legendary Mike Battaglia and a social media photo contest using the hashtag #GoTURFWAY.

The holiday meet ends New Year's Eve. Themed "Hustle into 2018," this year's New Year's Eve party is a throwback to the 1970s in fashion, music and décor. DJ Jonathan Klein starts the music at 8 p.m., with Gee Your Band Smells Terrific taking the stage at 9 p.m. The concert, general admission and parking are free. Reservations with buffet or appetizers and open bar are priced from $65 to $95 per person. 

Complete information about the racing schedule, events and restaurant is available at turfway.com. 

National and Regional Trainers Return
    
Among trainers back for the holiday meet is Mike Maker, who holds 19 meet titles at Turfway. Also returning is Wesley Ward, who in 2016 earned the distinction of training the only U.S.-based horse to win Europe's prestigious Cartier Award, champion 2-year-old Lady Aurelia. Ward and Maker both have twice won Breeders' Cup races, Ward with Hootenanny and Judy the Beauty in 2014 and Maker with Furthest Land in 2009 and Hansen, the eventual Eclipse champion 2-year-old, in 2011.

Several accomplished regional trainers also have stalls at Turfway, including Genaro Garcia, Kim Hammond and Michael Lauer, top three at Indiana Grand this year, and Larry Smith, Larry Holt, Ivan Vasquez, Ron Kahles and Doug Cowans, among the summer's top 10 at Belterra Park. With 2,173 victories, Hammond is the all-time leading female trainer by wins in North America.

Ageless Perry Ouzts, Promising Apprentices to Ride

Perry Ouzts has been riding racehorses longer than most of his competitors have been alive. In October, the 63-year-old Ouzts moved into ninth place by wins among all North American jockeys in history, and he returns to Turfway to continue his climb. At the other end of the spectrum, apprentices Shelbi Kurtz, Caroline Quast and Edgar Morales will join the Turfway colony, Quast and Morales for the first time. Kurtz started her career at Turfway last winter, scoring her first career win in February. 

While New Year's Eve closes the holiday meet, racing continues without interruption on New Year's Day at 1:10 p.m. ET, the start of the track's 50th winter/spring meet.

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