After 12 years of sponsoring the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, William S. Farish’s Lane’s End has relinquished its support of the $500,000 event. The 1 1/16-mile Futurity for 2-year-olds is run in early October and had been sponsored by the farm since 1997.
Bill Farish, who oversees Lane’s End in Central Kentucky for his father, said March 25 the farm’s decision to end its sponsorship of the race didn’t stem entirely from the need to cut costs due to the poor economy, but was rather an overall readjustment of Lane’s End’s 2009 budget.
“We sponsor the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, and it’s really kind of a race that over time had the potential to be branded ‘The Lane’s End,’ whereas the Breeders’ Futurity will always be the Breeders’ Futurity, because it’s such a race steeped in history,” he said. “We felt that we were maybe spending a little more on race sponsorships than we were comfortable doing, so we decided to cut back.”
Farish said Lane’s End annually evaluates its sponsorships, and would continue to monitor its support of the Lane’s End Stakes on a year-to-year basis. “At this point, we’re very happy with it,” he said.
The Lane’s End for 3-year-olds is the biggest race of the year at Turfway, which is owned by Keeneland and Harrah’s Entertainment. The 2009 running was held March 21.
Keeneland director of communications Jim Williams said the track had not yet found another sponsor for the Breeders’ Futurity.
“This is a time where many sponsors are re-evaluating their sponsorships,” he said. “As of the moment, we don’t have a sponsor, but it’s something we will be, as we do on many of our major stakes, seeking to match up a sponsor. We appreciate the support we’ve gotten from our sponsors over the years, and we respect their decisions to either continue with us or not.”
The Blood-Horse earlier reported Keeneland lost Ashland Inc. and Stonerside as sponsors this year.
Last year, the Breeders’ Futurity was part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, and the winner, Square Eddie, automatically qualified for the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), in which he finished second.
First run 1910, the Breeders’ Futurity was a grade III event from 1973-75, a grade II from 1976-2003, and was elevated to grade I status in 2004.