Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Party a good bet


By Lisa Scott and Ken Peterson

Special to The PREVIEW

The Kentucky Derby horse race is days away and there is no better way to “locally” get a chance to bet on the horses than by attending the Rotary Club Kentucky Derby Party at Keyah Grande Lodge on Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.

Derby festivities will be simulcast from Churchill Downs and, prior to watching the race live, you’ll get the opportunity to bet on the horse or horses that might win (come in first), place (come in second) or show (come in third) in the race. You can even make multiple bets on different combinations of horses to win, place or show.

If you are good at picking a winning horse and/or combination of horses, then you get to keep 75 percent of your winnings and donate the 25 percent that Rotary keeps to support local philanthropic projects.

On the other hand, if you are wrong on any or all of your bets, you can take solace that your money doesn’t go to support some racetrack bookie, but that your losing wager actually is used for community projects that Rotary supports. That is definitely a win-win-win opportunity to have a lot of fun, make some money and also make a donation.

Tickets are $40 per person and will be available at the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Choke Cherry Tree until Thursday at 5 p.m., and then at EXIT Realty until 5 p.m. on Friday. Saturday, tickets will be available at the door.

Your ticket includes a buffet lunch, gorgeous desserts and live music by local jazz musician Bob Hemenger.

Bring your checkbook for a chance at any of the silent auction “experience” packages.

Traditions surround the Kentucky Derby and they will all be incorporated into this event featuring “jockeys, juleps and jazz.” In addition to the race itself, the time-honored beverage of the race is the mint julep, an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint and sugar syrup. Too, there is not a more moving moment than when the horses step onto the track for the official race and the band strikes up Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” a tradition that began in 1924.

One of the unique characteristics of the Kentucky Derby is that it is a sports party that showcases the finest in spring fashions. There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to Derby attire, but, first and foremost, it’s all about the hats — large or small, contemporary or old-fashioned, big brimmed, feathered, flowery, furry, basic or just plain fascinating.

Locally, women and men top off their Derby duds with a variety of headwear to put them in the Derby spirit and compete in the hat contest for both men and women.

Come on out and gamble on a sure thing on May 6. It’s going to be a great afternoon in a beautiful setting with great company, music, food, drinks, betting on the horse race, silent auction and many Derby traditions.

A few betting odds

There are 20 horses that will be running in the Kentucky Derby this year. Let’s take a look at a few of the choices and the potential odds on the day of the race.

In no particular order and no guarantee of odds: Always Dreaming (3-1 odds); Classic Empire (3-1 odds); Gunnevera (5-1 odds); Irish War Cry (5-1 odds); Girvin (10-1 odds); Irap (8-1 odds); and McCraken (8-1 odds).

If, for example, you bet $10 on a horse with 8-1 odds to win and the horse wins, it would pay $80 plus your $10 bet for a total of $90. Rotary would pay you 75 percent of the $90 (which would be $67.50) and the other 25 percent (which would be $22.50) would be put toward the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club’s community service projects.

Where the money goes

Even if your particular bets don’t pay out, remind yourself that all of this fun is raising money to help fund postsecondary scholarships, food-filled backpacks for youth needing supplemental meals, dictionaries for third-grade students and sponsoring youth leaders to attend leadership camps.