Kentucky racing circuit shifts to Turfway Park next week

Kentucky racing circuit shifts to Turfway Park next week
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Kentucky’s year round Thoroughbred racing circuit makes its annual stop at Turfway Park beginning Wednesday, Nov. 28, the start of the Northern Kentucky track’s 43rd holiday meet. 

Turfway will offer eight races nightly, Wednesday through Saturday, with first post at 6:10 p.m. ET. Racing is also scheduled for New Year’s Eve, a Monday, with post time at 1:10 p.m.

Admission and parking are free.

The schedule is topped by two $50,000 black type stakes: the six-furlong Holiday Inaugural for fillies and mares Nov. 30 and the 1 1/16-mile Prairie Bayou Dec. 28.

National trainers Mike Maker and Wesley Ward will again maintain strings at Turfway, as will leading regional trainers Jeff Greenhill, Bill Connelly, Bill Helmbrecht, James Jackson, Susan Anderson and racing’s top female trainer by wins, Kim Hammond.

Trainer Jason Barkley, who opened his own stable this fall at Keeneland after serving as assistant to both Ward and Nick Zito, also has stalls at Turfway.

Weekend Specials, Equine Guest Stars, Highlight Meet

Turfway’s popular Dollar Fridays return, with regional rockers Naked Karate Girls, Doghouse, DV8 and other bands providing the soundtrack for one-dollar draft beer, soda, hot dogs and win, place and show bets. 

The season’s first Dollar Friday, Nov. 30, is also Welcome Back Night. Turfway extends a very special “welcome back” not only to fans but also to the legendary Budweiser Clydesdales. Weather permitting, a full eight-horse hitch will pull the iconic red wagon over Turfway’s Polytrack and greet fans on the track apron. Clydesdales weigh as much as 2,300 pounds, more than twice the weight of a typical Thoroughbred.

At the other end of the scale, two other equine stars will delight fans, especially children, on Welcome Back Night: Petey and Tater Tot, both from Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship (CTRH). Petey is a Medicine Hat Paint pony who is this year’s Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International Region 4 Horse of the Year. Tater Tot is a miniature horse used in outreach. Located in Milford, Ohio, CTRH is a non-profit that serves children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. 

Welcome Bank night also offers free racing programs to the first 750 fans who stop by the program booths beginning at 5:30 p.m., a drawing for a 55-inch Insignia LED HDTV and music from The Menus.

Saturdays this season are newly designated Ladies’ Nights, featuring drink specials, giveaways and acoustic music; up first is Matt Cowherd from 4th Day Echo. The first Saturday, Dec. 1, also offers the first of several special events planned during the season, a murder mystery dinner presented by Studio Rho Entertaining of Union, Ky.

Celebrating the holidays, Turfway is holding a canned food drive titled “You Give. We Give.” For every canned good or other non-perishable food item fans bring in, Turfway will match it with another. Items collected will be donated to Master Provisions of Florence. The collection begins opening night and continues through Dec. 22.

The holiday meet ends Dec. 31. The meet is followed without interruption by the winter/spring meet, which begins New Year’s Day and continues Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through March 30.

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