Welcoming a packed house to the 14th annual Day at the Races at Turtle Creek Park, the Event Co-Chair and regional president for presenting sponsor Truist bank, Christian Corts, was sounding pretty confident about the outcome of the 2022 Kentucky Derby horse race.
“Good luck — especially those of you who bet on Epicenter,” Christian told the crowd of 120 at the Derby-watching party outside the park’s Arlington Hall on Saturday, May 7. “The rest of you, just enjoy the show!”
Corts’ enthusiasm for Epicenter, a Laredo-trained thoroughbred, would be tested soon enough, when guests would be catching the “most exciting two minutes in sports” on the park’s big-screen TVs. In the meantime, though, their focus was on just enjoying the party — the signature fundraising event for the Turtle Creek Conservancy, with a record-breaking 45 sponsors and proceeds benefiting the beautification and development of Turtle Creek Park.
There was a lot to enjoy, the sweltering heat aside. Besides sampling the Southern-inspired Mesero’s canapes and hors d’oeuvres and spirits including … what else, mint juleps … attendees drank in all their fellow guests’ chic and natty outfits in every spring color imaginable.
Think striking hats — we’re looking at you, Turtle Creek Conservancy President and CEO Tiffany Divis and Honorary Co-Chair Emeritus Teffy Jacobs, whose topper came via Rebecca Couture — as well as stunning frocks (Dyana Nafissi, Denise Lubaway, Diana Jabour, Stephanie Martin, Melinda Knowles, Claudia Lode, Ellen Winspear, Category Judge Kim Hext, Wendy Messmann, Amy Green and Ann Whitley Wood with fiancé David Finto, to name just a few).
The gents weren’t looking too shabby, either.
Advisory Chair/Category Judge Michael Faircloth sported a handsome windowpane-patterned sport coat, while Sami Arslanlar, his longish hair put up in a man bun, was fending off dueling compliments. (“He looks like a European clothing designer!” gushed one guest. “No,” argued another, “more like a European rock star!”) Modest Sami said he was just doing the best he could with “pandemic hair.”
While Peter Dauterman and Louis Murad were dapper in pastels and Panama hats, Aaron Clough and Matt Saxton were providing a lesson in how to wear sport coats with long shorts.
Across the way, Category Judge John Clutts was feeling the late-afternoon heat (“I thought we had to wait til July to get heat like this,” he quipped). Advisory Chair Mary Martha Pickens agreed (“It’s hot!”), and said she and hubby John Pickens (also an advisory chair) would soon be taking their niece to dinner. Honorary Co-Chair Emeritus Doris Jacobs and Lee Bailey also would be dashing off, to an AWARE event.
Just minutes before the race got underway, a trumpeter called the guests to focus on the stage at the back of the tent for the announcement of the Day at The Races category winners. They were:
- Pretty in Pink — Connie Miles
- Derby Glamour – Paula Jones
- Run for the Roses — Bob Gray
- Derby Dapper — Jaime Hinojosa
- Derby Duo — Eric Ransom and Zariah Id-Deen
- Derby Day Perfect — Natash Aslin
Then it was time for all eyes to turn upward toward the big-screen TVs as race-time neared. Among guests anticipating the opening of the starting gate were Mark Eitzen, Underwriting Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley and Jennifer and Richard Dix, Advisory Co-Chairs/Category Judge Tanya and Pete Foster, Christie Carter, Daffan and Doug Nettle, Kyra and Carlos Gonzalez, Amanda Ward, Lynn McBee, Pam Busbee, Ann and Bob Dyer and Dallas City Council member Paul Ridley.
A couple of minutes later, the 148th Run for the Roses was over. And, instead of going to Epicenter, who placed second, the big race was won by Rich Strike, a true dark horse that had 80-1 odds against him.
What was there to do after that, except have another mint julep?
For more looks of the Derby day, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.