So the ladies of the Arboretum’s Women’s Council may have cornered the market when it comes to the world of whimsical hat occasions with its Mad Hatter’s Tea. But giving the Hatters a run for its money is Derby Day. No, not like the restaurant, but like the Kentucky Derby. Sure, it’s in Kentucky and the only local connection lately has been Lisa and Kenny Troutt‘s Super Saver in 2010, but you don’t have to be in Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
2ND ANNUAL TAG DERBY PARTY
This year the running of the roses fell on the same day as Cinco de Mayo (May 5), so it was definitely open to a slight tweaking of the usual horse-race celebration. But to do it just right took brains and that was no problem for the Think Ahead Group (TAG) Derby folks, since they were raising funds for BrainHealth. Co-chairs Ginna McLanahan and Molly Soper seamlessly blended the two celebrations with the theme, “Sombreros & Seersuckers.” They also man-
aged to bring the event back for a second year to Faye Briggs‘ estate, despite Faye’s having just gotten out of the hospital after a nasty lung infection. Most folks would have stayed in bed propped up with pillows watching the race on a big, old HDTV, but not Faye. No way. There’s nothing she loves more than raising funds and the fun of having young people filling the house and grounds.
BrainHealth brain Dr. Sandi Chapman was thrilled with the turnout on the beautiful day. Last year’s event drew 200 and they doubled it this year making it TAG’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Perhaps that’s why everywhere you looked you saw all types of hats, sundresses, heels and good-looking people.
Despite delicious margaritas, mint juleps and other grownup beverages being served up, there
was more action than imbibing taking place. The entire back acreage of the Briggs estate was filled with a Taste of the South tent next to a taco
stand, a Southern Sips Bar, Derby Rafffle, Lawn Games & Lounge and a Photo Booth with a Blue Grass Band playing away. On the covered terrace, donuts were being made by Lil’ Bits Mini across the way from another Southern Sips Bar.
Perhaps that’s why getting on to the grounds became as challenging as a rocking horse winning the Ken-
tucky Derby. While some guests simply gave up the wait for valets and parked their cars a block or so away, others patiently waited their turn as the non-stop car parkers raced the course. One older gent who evidently was not attending the party and found going against the lineup frustrating, saluted the waiting guests in a way that would have been scrambled out on television.
As some guests were leaving, a police car pulled up and an officer headed to the front door. Was he arresting the diminutive Faye for a too-successful party? Or was it illegal to have a horse politely standing in the front of the house to greet guests? Neither. He was just checking on “Mrs. Briggs” because everyone in the department is so fond of her. Dadgummit, here there might have been a TMZ moment of seeing Faye in handcuffs being led to the squad car.
DAY AT THE RACES
Across town at Arlington Hall in Lee Park, the Junior Conservancy held its 4th annual “Day at the Races” to raise funds for the “development, conservation and maintenance” of the park and hall. While it was a similar number of good-looking stylish types, the tone was much more in keeping with the Derby.
Ladies’ hats were strictly Kentucky-types ranging from fascinators to big-brims. What else could be
expected by a bit of southern comfort to go along with the look and that was supplied by Woodford Reserve’s mint juleps and fine southern cuisine? For entertainment, lawn games once
again were the civilized play with music provided by Justin Cash. There was one spot on the lawn fronting Turtle Creek where the men
gathered. Was it a hot babe? Hot, yes. Babe, not quite. It was a table where a craftsman was hand rolling cigars.
For the VIP guests Co-chairs Alex Baker and Lauren Lapeyre arranged access to the private terrace and “upgraded bar” complete with Herradura Tequila margaritas and Cinco de Mayo tidbits. You didn’t think they were going to actually ignore the Mexican celebration, did you?
Ah, regardless of the ticket status, all gathered in the Great Hall to watch the race on the mega-screen when start time came. Whether you were born with a racing form in your hand or just loved the movie “Secretariat,” everyone got into the thrill of the moment as I’ll Have Another surprised all including Bodemeister.
Then it was back to partying both at Churchill Downs and in Dallas.