Not your average barnyard gala
Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby. For the past ten years, the Mint Jubilee Gala has been held on the eve of the Derby. The fundraising event was created by Louisville natives Tom and Chris Thieneman, and in recent years, it has attracted a bigger and bigger list of celebrity attendees.
Last year, over 1,500 people from across the country attended the sold-out event. This year there are some crazy benefits for sponsors. In 2006, just under $200,000 was raised for the organizations through ticket sales and silent auction purchases.
The saddle of last year's winning horse Barbaro will be included in the silent auction and is expected to draw world wide bidders. The saddle was donated and autographed by jockey Edgar Prado to raise funds for the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund, which offers living and medical expense assistance to injured riders.
I have to admit, I like Prado a lot, but I'm surprised the money from the saddle isn't going instead to the Barbaro Memorial Fund. Speaking of which - the sponsors of the Derby announced a controversial challenge.
There will be a $1 million bonus at the Kentucky Derby if the first-place horse wins by more than 6½ lengths -- the margin of Barbaro's victory last year. The bonus would be divided Saturday among the winning trainer, jockey, owner and a charity, with each receiving 25 percent.Proceeds from the gala will be used to benefit cancer research and services at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville and Gilda's Club Louisville.
For a complete list of over 70 other barnyard variety events taking place during the Kentucky Derby Festival, go here.