01/26/2018 11:00AM

Turfway Park's top race now named Jeff Ruby Steaks


Turfway Park’s most prestigious race, its annual spring prep for the Kentucky Derby, will have a new sponsor for the next three years, Jeff Ruby Steaks, and yes, you will have to forgive the pun.

The race formerly known as the Spiral Stakes and the Jim Beam Stakes will be now known as the Jeff Ruby Steaks, running through 2020, according to Turfway Park and the company that owns Jeff Ruby Steakhouses. The race is scheduled this year for March 17, with a purse of $200,000.

Turfway slashed the purse of the race from $500,000 to $200,000 last year after Churchill Downs downgraded the race’s importance for earning a berth in the Kentucky Derby. This year, the winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks will be awarded 20 points toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby field instead of 50. In previous years, the cutoff to make the Derby field has been around 40 points.

Jeff Ruby owns a number of eponymous steakhouses throughout the U.S., and the restaurant has popular locations in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, and Cincinnati, just north of Turfway Park. The company will also provide all the catering for the VIP Tent on Jeff Ruby Steaks Day, according to Turfway.

Ruby has long been involved in racing sponsorships, particularly with signing jockeys to display the name of his steakhouses on their breeches.

“I’m a racing enthusiast and have a sincere interest in all the people involved,” Ruby said, in a release distributed by Turfway.