06/26/2001 11:00PM

Lane's End sponsors Spiral


Turfway Park officials announced Wednesday that Lane's End Farm has agreed to a three-year contract to sponsor the track's signature race for 3-year-olds, beginning next year. The agreement culminates a lengthy search by Turfway for a sponsor for the race known in recent years as the Spiral, Jim Beam, and Gallery Furniture.com Stakes.

Lane's End, the highly successful breeding farm in Versailles, Ky., is owned by Will Farish, who this week was expected to win approval as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. "We look forward to a long, prosperous relationship with Turfway Park," Farish said in a press release.

The Grade 2 Lane's End Spiral Stakes, to be run March 23 at the Florence, Ky., track, is a 1 1/8-mile Triple Crown prep that historically has carried a purse of $600,000. Bob Elliston, president of Turfway, said no decision has yet been made on what the purse will be for the 2002 running, and no details will be released about Lane's End's financial commitment.

Created as the Spiral in 1972, the race became the Jim Beam in 1982. Beam dropped its sponsorship after 17 runnings, after which Gallery, the Houston-based furniture maker owned by Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale, sponsored the 1999 running. But that lasted only one year, and until this latest announcement, Turfway had actively sought a sponsor while reverting to the Spiral name for the last two runnings.

The Spiral has produced one Kentucky Derby winner, Lil E. Tee in 1992, and such classic winners as Hansel, Prairie Bayou, and Summer Squall. Balto Star won the 2001 running.

Lane's End also is the sponsor of the Breeders' Futurity, a fall fixture for 2-year-olds at Keeneland, and the Churchill Downs Handicap on Kentucky Derby Day.