Horses

Jeff Ruby’s to sponsor Kentucky Derby prep race. And Turfway went all in on the name.

Jockey John Velazquez rode We Miss Artie (11) to a come-from-behind victory in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in 2014. The race has produced two Kentucky Derby winners.
Jockey John Velazquez rode We Miss Artie (11) to a come-from-behind victory in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in 2014. The race has produced two Kentucky Derby winners. AP

Turfway Park announced Thursday that its annual Kentucky Derby prep race, usually run in mid-March, will be called the Jeff Ruby Steaks (yes, s-t-e-a-k-s) under a three-year sponsorship deal.

The sponsorship begins with the 47th running of the event at the Florence track on March 17.

The Spiral Stakes has had a number of sponsors over the years, some replacing and some including the traditional name of the event which has been run since 1972.

“We are delighted to partner with Jeff Ruby,” said Turfway Park General Manager Daniel “Chip” Bach. “He has a passion for Thoroughbred racing and his involvement brings fresh excitement to this race. Turfway Park was among the first to develop race sponsorships, and our Derby prep has had strong sponsor support since 1982. We’re proud to continue that tradition with a partner of Jeff Ruby’s stature.”

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Turfway Park

Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment owns Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouses in Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, and Carlo & Johnny and The Precinct in Cincinnati. The first Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse will open in Lexington as part of the CentrePointe project under construction downtown.

“We feel great about partnering with Turfway on its biggest day of the year. We both have strong brands with deep community roots and this is a natural fit. There are such terrific people involved on all sides of this and we can’t wait to bring the Jeff Ruby Experience to what has been a fantastic event for so many years,” Ruby said in a press release announcing the deal.

The race is currently a Grade III event run over 1 1/8 miles with a purse of $500,000. It offers 20 Kentucky Derby Championship Series points to the winner.

Two Spiral winners, Lil E Tee (1992) and Animal Kingdom (2011), went on to win the Kentucky Derby.

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