Society / Featured Parties

Kentucky Derby Day Turns Into a Stunning Hat Party at Houston Polo Club

The Next Best Thing to Churchill Downs

BY // 05.03.21

Perhaps the next best thing to cheering on the thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs during Sunday’s Kentucky Derby was rallying for the favored steeds at the Houston Polo Club where the verdant playing fields and the neighing of horses in their stalls provided as good a mise en scène as any outside of the Bluegrass State.

The fifth annual Hats, Hearts & Horseshoes benefit for Bo’s Place played out in familiar glorious format though the polo club replaced the Fertitta Family home in River Oaks, where the event had been hosted since its inception.

As the stormy skies cleared and the breeze picked up on Sunday afternoon, the 240 guests began arriving in their finest derby looks. Fascinators, feathers and broad-brimmed chapeaux led the expected fashion parade as gents in colorful sports jackets carried the peacock side of derby style.

Enjoying the party photo by Daniel Ortiz
The Houston Polo Club is setting for the Kentucky Derby Hats, Hearts & Horseshoes benefit for Bo’s Place. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Leading the day to a victorious $280,000 in proceeds were a trio of dynamic chair couples — Alissa and Kevin Maples, Millette and Haag Sherman, and Christie and Mark Sullivan. Add to the party the panache of honorary chairs Paige Fertitta, Megan and Luke Hotze, Hannah and Cal McNair, Hallie Vanderhider, and Kelli and John Weinzierl.

The mint juleps and other adult libations flowed while wait staff from Monarch Hospitality insured that guests were well sated for “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” And, yes, the throng was focused on the Run for the Roses, rising from their chairs and cheering as Medina Spirit approached the finish line. The race was viewed on multiple large-format screens strategically placed around the open air polo pavilion.

Stephen Lewis held the reins as emcee while Bo’s Place executive director Mary Beth Staine spoke about the service that the nonprofit provides for grieving families.

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  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
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  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY
  • River Oaks District - MAY

PC Seen: Sarah and Duncan Underwood, Paige Fertitta, DeeDee and Aaron Howes, Stacey and Al Lindseth, Claudine and David Hartland, Jennifer and Chad Pinkerton, Jade and David Shine, Kelli and John Weinzierl, Maidie Ryan, Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, Hallie Vanderhider, Maria and Neil Bush, Debbie Gregg, Travis Torrence, and Mignon Gill.

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