As Thoroughbred racing’s finest 3 year olds dashed across the finish line of the Kentucky Derby Saturday, cheers and charity coalesced at Derby Parties from New York to Florida benefitting the 900 ex-racehorses in the care of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF).
Longtime TRF supporter Kal Chany threw his 14th annual Big Apple Derby at Dorrian’s Red Hand Restaurant in the Upper East Side, NYC, raffling off box seats at Saratoga Race Course, which had been generously donated by the New York Racing Association (NYRA); and just across the street from the upstate New York track, King’s Tavern launched its first Derby party to benefit the Saratoga, N.Y.-based Thoroughbred charity.
“We had a great turnout at King’s Tavern, the place was literally packed, and some were dressed in seersucker and hats,” says Mary Abbruzzese, director of Annual Giving and Event Planning for the TRF. “People were throwing $100 bills in a bucket, and in cash and raffle proceeds we raised $1,300—I got goosebumps that day.”
Not only were revelers generous with their donations, but also they were equally interested in learning about the work of the TRF to care for 900 ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds, says Abbruzzese, noting, “It was a feel-good day.”
So successful was the event, which was buoyed by generous raffle donations from companies, including Fingerpaint marketing of Saratoga and Druthers Brewing Company, that the Fitch brothers have pledged to host another party in the Triple Crown season to benefit the TRF.
Equally exciting was the longtime support given by Kal Chany, who raffled off a Saratoga Getaway Grand Prize package, which included a two-night stay at the Saratoga Arms hotel, reserved VIP seating at the Saratoga Race Course, round-trip train tickets from NYC and gift certificates for restaurants and car rentals.
“I’m very impressed with Kal and what he’s done for the TRF horses,” Abbruzzese says.
Derby parties were also held in Kingston, Mass., Winter Park, Fla., Goochland, Va., Great Meadow, N.Y., and Goshen, N.Y.
As the parties helped build buzz, the TRF’s ongoing hay drive officially reached its midway point toward its $210,000 goal, says Linda Passaretti, director of Development, noting that the TRF kicked off a Go Fund Me campaign to buoy the hay drive.
“We started the Go Fund Me campaign about two weeks ago with the premise that if each person who follows us in social media could donate $5, we’d reach our goal,” Passaretti says. “A lot of our fundraising work reaches people in the industry, and we’re hoping that this campaign will reach people who just really love animals.”
Passaretti adds, “The act of saving or rescuing a horse is not a single moment of time. Every single day we keep them happy and healthy is an ongoing thing … these are living creatures, who need a lifetime of care and food.”
* A $5 donation to the TRF’s Go Fund Me hay drive may be made via this hyperlink: http://www.gofundme.com/trfhorseshaydrive?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=cta_button&utm_campaign=upd_n
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