Thursday, March 20, 2003

Day at the races - with hoops - to fight illness

Cystic fibrosis group to raise funds at Turfway

By Gina Holt
Enquirer contributor

FLORENCE - Turfway Park is today combining two of Kentucky's loves, basketball and horses.

And adding a satellite feed.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is hosting a Hoops, Horses and Hopes fund-raiser at Turfway Park today. Sixteen large-screen televisions will set up on the fifth floor of the thoroughbred track, with a satellite feed so that every game of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament first round can be watched at the same time.

The doors will open at noon, with the first tip-off at 12:25 p.m. between California and North Carolina State University at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

The event won't be over until the last game concludes about midnight. Live horse racing begins at the park at 5:30 p.m.

"We have a lot of raffles, contests and other things we're going to be doing throughout the day," said Tom Brady, director of special events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Giveaways will include basketballs autographed by University of Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins, University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino and University of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith.

The grand prize will be two tickets to next year's Crosstown Shootout, a limo ride to the game, dinner for two and a night's stay at a hotel in Cincinnati.

Individual tickets can be purchased before the event for $13.60, which includes admission and two drink tickets. Call (513) 533-9300, ext. 15, for advance tickets.

Individual tickets can be purchased at the door for $13.60 but will not include drinks. VIP tickets - which include reserved seating, a buffet dinner and two drink tickets - can be purchased for $50 each.

Corporate tables, seating six, can be purchased for $500. They include reserved seating, a buffet dinner, two drink tickets and company recognition throughout the event.

Paul Green of Ernst and Young, an accounting firm in Cincinnati, said he would be sitting at a corporate table with some of his partners.

"We all love basketball," said Green. "It's a great venue to watch the games and do a little gambling on the horses and have a good time."

Green is also thrilled that the event is benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation."I've been involved with CF for a long time, and it's a fantastic cause."

Cystic fibrosis affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. There's no cure for the life-threatening, genetic disease, which affects the lungs and the digestive system.

"Cincinnati Children's Hospital is one of the leading care centers across the country for CF," said Brady. "A lot of the money we raise stays locally. Eighty-nine cents of every dollar goes directly to research."

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Day at the races - with hoops - to fight illness