Let’s Talk a Real Star Derby Party

If you’re watching all these announcements about the “stars” coming to various parties, you may be starting to wonder what qualifies someone as a real, actual celebrity.

This is Jim Norton, a correspondent for The Tonight Show, who'll be in town for the Night of Silk party

And you might think that America confers celebrity status on some dubious individuals — like the folks who appear in contests on reality TV shows. This whole competition among party planners to put out a guest list seems a little, well, silly. But that discussion is for another post — it’s just what I’m thinking as I look over the list of guests coming to the Night of Silk Party on Derby NIGHT at the Galt House.

Because it benefits the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, it’s getting commitments from almost every jockey (current and retired) that will be in town that night.  The inaugural Night of Silk sent out a short list of jockeys who’ve already committed, including John Velasquez, who has the mount on a Derby favorite, Uncle Mo.  There’s also Joel Rosario, listed on Brilliant Speed.

There are legendary Derby winning jockeys — Mike Smith, Steve Cauthen, Chris McCarron, and the outgoing Jean Cruguet, who rode Seattle Slew in 1977. Pat Day, of course, is helping to publicize it.

Word is that Jockeys Guild rep Darrell Haire is getting commitments from about every jockey to show up at the Galt House sometime during the party.

“This is going to be the party to come to, very classy and elegant,” Haire said. “It’s going to be very colorful and entertaining.  It’s going to be out of this world, and people are going to be able to rub shoulders with the guys who will have run in the race.”

And the Night of Silk is likely to get a national boost in publicity, as The Tonight Show is sending correspondent Jim Norton to town to talk it up for a segment that will air the week following the Derby.

Jockeys, in general, have never received the proper celebrity attention at Derby time.  Let’s hope that’s about to change.

Tickets to the party are $375 and available through the Galt House. A limited number of dance-only tickets will be sold for $175.