10/21/2001 11:00PM

John Deere named B.C. Turf sponsor

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Farm and lawn equipment manufacturer John Deere will be the sponsor of the Breeders' Cup Turf at the World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 27, the NTRA announced Monday.

John Deere signed on as an official supplier to the NTRA in June 1999, an agreement that allows certain NTRA members who participate in the marketing organization's group purchasing program to receive discounts and other special considerations on John Deere merchandise.

The official supplier agreement also included television sponsorship opportunities for John Deere, which has sponsored NTRA spots in the past. NTRA spokesman Eric Wing said the Turf sponsorship agreement is in addition to John Deere's existing agreement with the NTRA. Wing would not disclose details of the sponsorship package, including the amount John Deere paid.

"Sponsoring this year's Breeders' Cup Turf race provides a great opportunity to more effectively reach racetracks, breeding farms, and NTRA members," said Mark Johnson, John Deere's national accounts manager, in a release announcing the sponsorship deal.

John Deere is the fourth sponsor for the 2001 World Thoroughbred Championships. Others are the wealth-management firm Bessemer Trust, chaired by Thoroughbred owner Stuart Janney, as title sponsor for the Juvenile; Thoroughbred owner Leonard Lavin's Alberto-Culver, which in the past has sponsored the Breeders' Cup Distaff, as presenting sponsor of the Filly and Mare Turf this year; and Penske Auto Center as title sponsor of the Sprint.