LOUISVILLE. KY – The fourth annual Ferdinand’s Ball celebrity Derby gala is moving to an exciting new venue this year, the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. The Thursday, May 2, charity event leads off the Derby weekend’s festivities, again raising funds for Old Friends Equine Retirement Facility, the nonprofit Georgetown, Ky., facility that rescues retired racehorses from neglect, abuse and slaughter, offering them a peaceful final chapter to their lives while educating the public about their remarkable stories. Past events have been held at the Frazier History Museum.
Ferdinand’s Ball draws about 350 attendees and garners support from celebrities, notable athletes and local legislators as well as local and national news media. Past hosts have included Hollywood’s Maria Menounos, Kate Upton and Brandi Glanville. The 2013 celebrity host announcement will be coming soon.
The red carpet, semi-formal affair begins at 8 p.m. with a VIP cocktail hour, exclusive to celebrity guests, sponsors and select media. A limited number of tickets will available for purchase. Special guests will enjoy champagne and appetizers in the LeRoy Neiman Gallery located on the second level of the Ali Center, and also in the adjacent, outdoor Brown-Forman Pavilion. The unique, two-level gallery contains LeRoy Neiman’s dynamic artwork of Muhammad Ali.
The main event begins at 9 p.m., in the stunning View Pointe Hall and View Point North, where floor-to-ceiling windows provide breathtaking panoramic views of the Ohio River, the Belvedere and downtown Louisville. It will feature gourmet appetizers and an open bar provided by Bulleit Bourbon, Tito’s Vodka and Arabella Wines.
Guests will also enjoy valet parking, a silent auction and dancing to live music provided by the high-energy and always entertaining Louisville Crashers. Baby D’s Bagel & Deli will provide a variety of appetizers, and Gigi’s Cupcakes will provide a selection of desserts. Magnolia Photo Booth Co. will also have a booth on site, offering guests a chance to take home a four-photo strip commemorating the event.
During the main event, a VIP section will feature choice gift bags, a tasting of Bulleit Bourbon’s 10-year small batch whiskey, a delectable oyster bar by Tahoma Fly Fishing & Oyster Co., as well as other specialty appetizers and drinks.
All guests will be treated to live art created by Donna Bernstein, a Judith Ripka fine jewelry bar and bow ties by Dhani Jones, chairman of the Bow Tie Cause, NFL linebacker and star of the Travel Channel’s “Dhani Tackles the Globe.”
During the event, jockey Rosie Napravnik will be presented with the 2013 Ferdinand Award, which goes to an individual who shows an unwavering commitment to ethical horse retirement and has made a difference in the cause for Old Friends.
Other celebrities confirmed to attend this year’s event are: Brian O’Halloran, actor from the 1990s hit movie, “Clerks;” Bonnie-Jill Laflin, NBA scout and model; Hollie Huggins, NASCAR personality and model; Matt Jones and Drew Franklin, Kentucky Sports Radio personalities; Jack Knowlton, owner of past Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide; and Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Frontier Whiskey.
Ferdinand’s Ball was founded by sisters and community volunteers Kim Boyle and Aimee Boyle Wulfeck, in honor of Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby Winner and 1987 Horse of the Year. After making millions in the races, Ferdinand was sent to stud in Japan and, following his stud career, ended up in a slaughterhouse, which spurred an international outcry.
“As animal lovers, Aimee and I are passionate about giving our time to various charities that support animal rights,” said Kim Boyle, owner of Barkstown Road in the Highlands. “We believe that by organizing an event like Ferdinand’s Ball, we can raise awareness, bring the community together to support a wonderful horse-centered charity and throw a great party to celebrate the Derby all at the same time.”
Sponsors of the 2013 Ferdinand’s Ball include: Papa John’s, Denali Stud, Pure Romance, Bulleit Bourbon, Tito’s Vodka, Arabella Wines and NFocus Louisville magazine.
A limited number of tickets will be sold for the exclusive VIP cocktail hour at a cost of $500. Individual tickets for the VIP section during the main event are $250. Regular main event tickets are $100. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.ferdinandsball.com.
Ferdinand’s Ball tickets are also offered as part of an elite Premiere Sports Travel Derby package, www.sportstravel.com.