01/07/2010 1:00AM

Turfway changes date of Lane's End Stakes


Turfway Park announced Thursday that the date for their annual showcase race, the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes, has been changed to March 27, one week later than originally scheduled.

The Grade 2 Lane's End now will be run five weeks before the May 1 Kentucky Derby and on the same day as the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds and the Dubai World Cup. Late last year, officials at Gulfstream Park announced the movement of their premier 3-year-old prep, the Florida Derby, from March 27 to March 20, partly to avoid a conflict with the Louisiana Derby, which also underwent a date change from last year.

Turfway president Bob Elliston said in a media release that several factors contributed to the decision to change the date of the Lane's End.

"Trainers can more comfortably make the Lane's End their final prep," he said, adding that using the coattails of the World Cup could boost handle and that running a week later gives additional time to promote the race and perhaps to avoid the tail end of nasty winter weather.

The move to March 27 means a return to tradition at Turfway. For most years since its 1972 inaugural, Turfway had run the Lane's End five weeks before the Kentucky Derby. The switch to six weeks was made in 2000, when Globalize prevailed. Even with the six-week time frame, the Lane's End sometimes had been run on the same day as the World Cup, depending on how the calendar fell.

The 1 1/8-mile Lane's End anchors what always is the biggest day of live racing at Turfway in Florence, Ky. Accordingly, the four supporting stakes also are being moved to March 27. Those races are the Bourbonette Oaks, Rushaway, Queen, and Hansel.

The dates for the two remaining local preps for the Lane's End remain unchanged. They are the $50,000 WEBN Stakes on Jan. 30 and the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial on Feb. 27.