The Night of Silk Derby Party at Louisville's independently owned hotel, the Galt House, was a definite success. Jockey's who have won past Derby races and jockeys who rode in this years Oaks and Derby race were present and talking with guests to show their support for the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (PDJF).
A silent auction was held to benefit the PDJF and some of the items being auctioned off was a Makers Mark bottle signed by Bill Samuels and John Valezquez, a picture of Keenland Paddock from 1949 signed by Pat Day and many other valuable items autographed by famous jockeys.
Victor Espinoza, jockey, said he was glad to have been invited to the Night of Silk party because usually not a lot happens for them after the Derby. "It is an honor to be apart of this party for thePDJF," Espenoza said. "We usually don't have anything to do after the Derby so it is nice to be able to support our friends who have been injured and have something to do after the race."
Mike Smith who won the Derby in 2005 on Giacomo was present at the party. "The Galt House is very kind and generous for supporting the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund," Smith said. "We are here to help our support disabled riders, that is exactly why we decided to come to this party."
Gary Stevens, three-time Derby winner, said he feels very strongly about supporting the PDJF. "As a jockey we all know it could be us," Stevens said.
Before the band at the party began to play, all the jockeys present walked on stage to surprise Mary Moseley, owner and president of the Galt House Hotel, with a jockey boot statue in order to show their appreciation for her support. Only two were made and the other was to be auctioned off for the PDJF.
"This was really a surprise," Moseley said on stage while Pat Day handed her the boot. "Thank you for doing the things you do and coming to the first Night of Silk party. We are going to be doing this for many Derby nights to come."
Among the celebrity jockeys, a 500 pound edible horse statue, several iced bar stations and statues and the large beautiful ball room where people began to dance the night away, it was clear that although this party was for guests to have a wonderful night, the cornerstone of its success was a good cause for disabled riders who have sacrificed their body's for a sport they and many Louisvillians care deeply about. This was a only part of a representation of Louisville's generous spirit and show of support for the Kentucky Derby and the jockeys who ride across its finish line.