FLORENCE, Ky., Nov. 26, 2012 – Live Thoroughbred racing returns to Northern Kentucky on Thurs., Nov. 29, with the opening of Turfway Park's 37th holiday meet.
Stakes racing returns as well, ushered in by the 27th running of the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural on Dec. 1. The Holiday Inaugural, six furlongs for fillies and mares, drew 37 nominations, including defending champ Fortune Play, trained by John Booker; three-time Turfway stakes winner Lotta Lovin, trained by Mike Maker; trainer Gary Simms' Grade 3 winner Flashy Lassie; and trainer Kellyn Gorder's stakes winners Devious Intent and Culotte. Entries will be drawn Thursday.
The Prairie Bayou Stakes on Dec. 15 and the Holiday Cheer Stakes on Dec. 29 complete the stakes schedule. Each also carries a $50,000 purse.
"We always look forward to the holiday meet," said Chip Bach, Turfway's director of operations. "We have a solid history of strong average field size and good stakes racing during this meet, and we cater a lot of holiday parties for local businesses and groups. The schedule is packed with special events, some returning, like Dollar Friday, and some fresh and unique, like Bootsy Collins heading up our New Year's Eve party."
The Bootsy Collins New Year's Eve Funk Bash tops the meet's special events. Collins, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Grammy winner who was instrumental in the birth of funk, will be making his first Greater Cincinnati concert appearance in 25 years. Party-goers can ring in 2013 with live racing and party options ranging from free admission to a $125 VIP reservation that includes a meet-and-greet reception with Collins and his wife, Patti, deluxe buffet, open bar, champagne, and VIP seating for the concert. The event benefits the Bootsy Collins Foundation. Live racing begins at 3 p.m.; the party runs 5:30 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. Details are available at www.turfway.com.
Back for the holiday meet is Turfway's popular Double Down Dollar Friday, featuring live music on the Willis Music Stage, games, and dollar and/or two-dollar specials on draft beer, soft drinks, hot dogs, soft pretzels, and Budweiser’s popular take on the margarita, the Lime-a-Rita. The Truth opens the concert series on Nov. 30, followed on successive Fridays by Devils Due, Them Carls, and Doghouse.
On Sun., Dec. 2, Turfway will host its traditional qualifier for the 14th annual DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas. Working with a live bankroll, horseplayers will vie for three seats in the $1.5 million national tournament as well as cash prizes. The qualifier entry fee is $150, which includes the bankroll. Multiple entries are allowed. See turfway.com/contests_games.asp for complete details.
The 50 Shades of Skinnygirl Party makes its first appearance on the holiday schedule. The $10 ticket to the ladies-only party on Dec. 14 offers light appetizers, raffle tickets, and a cash bar featuring the hot Skinnygirl wines, vodkas, and cocktails served by equally hot male bartenders. Pure Romance, Miche handbags, Fabulous Furs, and jewelry, fitness, make-up and spa vendors add shopping and prizes. The party runs 7 to 11 p.m.
Another event making its first—and presumably last—appearance is the Shock Top End of the World VIP Party on Dec. 21. Tickets are required but are free and will be given away on days to be announced at Brothers Bar & Grill in Newport, Turfway Bar & Grill in Florence, Edgewood Tavern, and Turfway Park. The event, which plays off the Mayan prediction that the world will end on the 21st, features Shock Top, a Belgian white ale, drink tickets, appetizers, games, and giveaways.
Turfway will present live racing Thursday through Sunday each week in December, going to post at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 1:10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, with exceptions for the track's customary post-Christmas schedule. In keeping with tradition, Turfway will present daytime racing the full week after Christmas, including Wed., Dec. 26, Mon., Dec. 31, and Tues., Jan. 1. Post time that week is 1:10 p.m. except on New Year's Eve, when racing begins at 3 p.m. as noted.
The holiday meet runs through Dec. 31 and is followed without interruption by the winter/spring meet, which ends March 30.