It didn’t matter whether you were a celebrity or a local person from the community just wanting to help the horses at Old Friends Equine, the event‘s beneficiary, Ferdinand’s Ball Founders Kim Boyle and Aimee Wulfeck made sure all guests were treated like royalty.
More than 300 Guests entered the Gala by walking the red carpet and getting their photo snapped in front of the event’s backdrop by photographers. They were then shuffled into the amazing Frazier International History Museum, which provided a great backdrop for the event, to enjoy pre-event cocktails and browse among the Museum’s displays and the wares of Derby Hats by Maddy Moo and Trixie Too, Judith Ripka Fine Jewelry Bar, and Sarabella James Handbags. Bow Ties by Dhani Jones, founder of Bow Tie Cause, were also available.
At 9 pm guests entered the Museum loft area for the main event where Louisville’s premiere party band, The Louisville Crashers, awaited to entertain them, and entertain them they did. Guests then enjoyed gourmet food by Masterson’s Catering, open bar provided by Bulleit Bourbon, Tito’s Vodka, and Arabella Wines, and Bluegrass Brewing Company, and toe curling chocolates by Cellar Door Chocolates. Photo Booth Live was a big hit among the decked out guests who posed in front of the camera and then had their photos displayed up on a big screen for everyone to watch through out the night.
Terry Meiners and friends sing along with Louisville Crasher Mark Maxwell.
An extensive selection of silent auction items were displayed ranging from artwork, signed horse racing related items, sports items, and a piece of original artwork rendered during the event by Equine Artist Donna Bernstein.
Event host Brandi Granville, of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" fame, flew in from California for the event. Hall of Fame and Kentucky Derby Jockey Kent DesOrmeaux was there to receive the Ferdinand’s Award, legendary Hall of Fame Jockey Jorge Valasquez; who rode Alydar and won the Kentucky Derby aboard Pleasant Colony, jockeys Jean Cruguet, George Harrison, and Bobby Ussery, Brian O'Holloran; who is the star of Gen-X classic "Clerks", NBA/L.A. Lakers Scout Bonnie-Jill Laflin, ESPN NASCAR expert Hollie Huggins, 2011 Miss Kentucky Ann-Blair Thornton, and local favorite Terry Meiners; on-air personality for 84 Whas, were some of the guests in attendance. Many guests were affiliated with the horse industry or big supporters of Old Friends Equine and their mission of making sure retired Thoroughbreds get a well earned safe and dignified retirement.
Brandi Granville spoke about how the cause, Old Friends Equine, really resonated with her when she was approached about coming and hosting Ferdinand’s Ball.
I think the favorite part of the night of mine, and of those in attendance, was when Jockey DesOrmeaux was presented with the Ferdinand’s Award for his undying support of Old Friends and for his commitment to the ethical retirement of thoroughbred horses, also for pulling up Big Brown in the 140th Belmont Stakes when he realized something just wasn’t right with the horse. He was criticized by some in the racing industry for doing it. DesOrmeaux said he can sleep at night for not making the horse, that was obviously in distress, continue to run. He made an impassioned speech on why he felt it was so important for guests to support Old Friends Equine. DesOrmeaux said, “ We are all here because we love horses.” He said there are at least five horses retired at Old Friends that he has ridden. He went on to say that after they have ran and won people forget about them after they are done racing, but not Michael Blowen and Old Friends Equine. At the end of his speech he walked right up to Louisville.com photographer, Anna Blanton, who was up front taking photos of him, and looked her in the face and declared he was going to WIN the Kentucky Derby this year, this ignited cheers from the guests. DesOrmeaux will be riding Dullahan in Kentucky Derby 138.
Old Friends founder, Michael Blowen, said that there are now 119 Thoroughbreds under the care of Old Friends. He thanked everyone for coming out to Ferdinand’s Ball and supporting the Old Friend’s horses.
In summing up the event Ferdinand’s Ball Founders Kim Boyle and Aimee Wulfeck did a wonderful job, this event was a great success raising thousands for the horses at Old Friends Equine. Browse through some of the images of the Ball below.
Photos: Courtesy of Anna Blanton