'A gorgeous, gorgeous party'
Organizer Donna Sturgeon said Friday's second annual Derby Eve Lexington gala at the James E. Pepper Distillery in downtown Lexington, "was absolutely a gorgeous, gorgeous party, and we had so many people." Sturgeon said Tuesday that while the number of attendees wasn't yet tallied, by 10 p.m. Friday, she was certain that they'd sold more tickets than at last year's inaugural event, which was held at Saxony Farm. "The fact that we transformed this dingy old warehouse into a New York City Soho nightclub, and saw the looks on people's faces when they entered the ballroom . from the red carpet . it was just wonderful, all night long," Sturgeon said. Proceeds from the event benefit the Woodford Humane Society (which will receive the bulk of the money raised), The Race for Education, New Vocations Racehorse Adoptions and the Retired Racehorse Project. "I have not heard one complaint out of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people," said Sturgeon, who works for Jack Kain Ford and is a former Woodford Humane Society board member. "Everybody had a great time and our sponsors were thrilled - it was just a huge success." Sturgeon said some of the attendees came from other parties, including a Vanity Fair-sponsored event at the 21C Museum Hotel. "(They) were telling us that they were seeing it (Derby Eve Lexington) on social media . that this was the party to be at, so folks were leaving the Vanity Fair party . and other parties to come to our party," Sturgeon said. In March, Sturgeon told The Sun that she hoped this year's gala would raise between $30,000 and $40,000 for the Woodford Humane Society and other charities. In addition to tallying the figures, volunteers will spend at least part of this week cleaning up what took them two weeks to bring in. Sturgeon got a head start Saturday morning - she found a $1 Powerball ticket. "And I thought, 'You know, this is fate, this is luck - this will pay for the party next year. Didn't hit one number," Sturgeon said with a laugh. "Whoever threw it out, knew what they were doing."