LEXINGTON, KY (April 17, 2014) – William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm has entered into a multiyear agreement with Keeneland to become the signature sponsor of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), an internationally renowned invitational for 3-year-old fillies on the turf, to be held Saturday, Oct. 11.
The purse for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup will increase from $400,000 to $500,000.
Inaugurated on Oct. 11, 1984, the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup was created in honor of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who attended the races at Keeneland that day and presented the trophy during her private visit to Central Kentucky.
Farish, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James, has hosted Queen Elizabeth II at Lane’s End and was eager to sponsor this race of international stature.
“This is a perfect partnership for Lane’s End,” Farish said. “It’s wonderful for us to have the opportunity to be part of the tradition behind this incredible race, which is held at one of America’s great sporting facilities, Keeneland.”
Held at 1 1/8 miles, the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup annually attracts many top grass fillies and has been won by champion Perfect Sting, as well as multiple Grade/Group 1 stakes winners Harmonious, Ticker Tape (GB), Riskaverse, Affluent, Ryafan, Memories of Silver, Plenty of Grace and Lotka.
“The worldwide respect of Lane’s End coupled with the exceptional racing history of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup makes for an exciting future for this race,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason.
Both Farish and Thomason addressed the potential for the event to attract a broad interest from the connections of the world’s top turf fillies.
“Our goal is to attract even more international competitors to this race,” Thomason said. “This has been a race of great importance but will even be more enhanced through our partnership with Lane’s End.”
Keeneland plans to provide a shipping allowance to the connections of Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup invitees to increase international exposure and entice Group 1 and Group 2 stakes winners to compete.
“Our hope is to reinvigorate all that surrounds this incredible race,” Farish said. “It is an event truly worthy of its namesake. “
Lane’s End, a leading Keeneland sales consignor, is one of the world’s premier Thoroughbred farms and encompasses more than 2,300 acres in Woodford County in the heart of Central Kentucky. Currently standing at stud at Lane’s End are such leading sires as Smart Strike, Candy Ride (ARG), Curlin, Lemon Drop Kid, Mineshaft and City Zip.
Farish, a native of Houston, Texas, and a lifelong horseman who raced his first stakes winner, Kaskaskia, in 1967, has campaigned more than 165 stakes winners and bred more than 300 stakes winners, including 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, 1999 Horse of the Year Charismatic, and champion Lemon Drop Kid. In 1992 and in 1999, he was honored with an Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder.
Farish has been a steward and vice chairman of The Jockey Club, a director and chairman of the executive committee of the Breeders’ Cup, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Keeneland Association. In 2006, he was appointed as a Trustee to the Keeneland Association.