It was off to the races as 400 guests gathered in the name of charity while celebrating the Kentucky Derby at the inaugural Hats, Hearts and Horseshoes party benefiting Bo’s Place. The sprawling backyard of the River Oaks mansion of Tilman and Paige Fertitta served as the perfect backdrop for the outdoor soiree.
The excitement built as the big race neared and spirited partygoers, dressed in carefully planned Derby Day ensembles including lavish hats, prepped with all the mint juleps and tastings by Garrison Brothers Bourbon, Avion Tequila, Glenfiddich Scotch, Cabaud and Decimus wines, and Perrier Jouet champagne, they could consume, along with fare from Landry’s.
Amazing weather kept the sold-out crowd from getting too heated, and so did ice-cold treats by family-owned Pop Brother’s, based in Gulfport, Mississippi, whose owners were featured in an episode of Billion Dollar Buyer, the CNBC reality series starring Tilman Fertitta. The handcrafted frosty pops, in flavors from chile lime mango to Oreo cheesecake, flew off the cart.
Guests also had a fun time taking part in such activities as Heads or Tails, which is becoming a popular game at Houston fundraisers, and the Racing Wall raffle, in which guests picked the horse they thought would win the Kentucky Derby, both sponsored by IW Marks.
Event chairs Megan and Luke Hotze, and Hannah and Cal McNair, along with honorary chairs Meredith and Patrick Chastang, and Susan and Charlie Neuhaus, helped raise more than $350,000 for Bo’s Place, which provides support and community to those who have experienced the death of a loved one.
A rousing end to the already lively day, everyone gathered around large outdoor screens, as Always Dreaming claimed victory at Churchill Downs.
Seen in the well-hatted crowd were Travis Torrence and Heath LaPray, Hallie Vanderhider, Caroline and Justin Simons, Lauren and Rob Gray, Christie and Mark Sullivan, Courtney and Bill Toomey, Monica and Curtis Bickers, Sarah and Doug Foshee, Luvi and Carlos Wheelock, Megan and Luke Hotze, Cathy and Mark Hotze, Stuart Rosenberg, Kristen Cannon, Maidie Ryan, Lindy and Tom McGee, Vivian Wise, Beth Muecke, Holly and Austin Alvis, and Shannon and Richard Kroger.