Nostaglia reigned at last night's Triple Crown Ball. Vic "On the Street Where You Live" Damone brought back memories for many who remember his music; Henry Clark, 89, the dean of Maryland trainers, received a special Triple Crown Ball award and stirred memories for all who are aware of his contributions to Maryland racing; and ball co-chairs Margaret and Jim McKay stirred memories for everyone in presenting the evening's proceeds, $125,000, to Loyola College provost Tom Scheye, for the Sellinger School, named for the late Rev. Joseph A. Sellinger, the very popular president of Loyola.
And there was little question that Father Sellinger's popularity was a drawing card for the ball, which attracted about 800 people from the racing and business community.
On hand for the party were Carol and Tom Meeker, he's president of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby; and Jan and Jerry McKeon, he's president of the New York Racing Association, which oversees the running of the Belmont; Joe De Francis and Becky Raines, he's president of Maryland Jockey Club; Steve Cauthen, most recent winner of the Triple Crown and only jockey to have won both the Triple Crown and the Epsom Derby.
I had the pleasure of sitting with Dennis and Kathy Swanson, he's the president of ABC Sports; Lynda O'Dea, who runs her own public relations agency these days; Jack O'Hara, J. Lyman and Libby Anderson, he's a retired C&P; exec.
Nearby were Mary Bell Grempler with state Secretary of Licensing and Regulation Bill Fogle on her arm; Maggie McCarthy, Loyola; John and Lucretia Sias, he's retired president of ABC and now chairman of the board of San Francisco's Chronicle; Charlie and Bartie Cole and Jerry and Sally Casey, First National Bank execs; Mary and Sig Hyman, attorney; Sister Rose Marie Nassif, president of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, with a table of her faculty members; James W. Stieff; Tom and Rita Cinnamond, Pam Shriver; the Dan Altobello family held forth at their table, but unfortunately Dan, chairman of the board of trustees and owner of one of the largest airline catering firms in the world, had to be out of town; Peter Angelos, the attorney who's with a Baltimore group trying to buy the Orioles; ++ King and Linda Leatherbury, he's a well-known Maryland trainer who is just a few races shy of attaining his 5,000th win; and Sissy and Bob Levi, owner of the Atlantic City race track.
I asked Pam who she likes in the Preakness. She said it would have to be Rockamundo because she likes any horse that has had an operationwithin two weeks of the race. Rockamundo had surgery on his throat to correct a breathing problem.
Maryland trainer Billy Boniface and his wife, Joan, had Martha and Frank Hopkins, he's a member of the Maryland Racing Commission, sitting with them. Although the Hopkinses no longer give their Preakness party, they did have a small (50ish) dinner party Wednesday evening at their Darlington farm for the Sheldon Willises, whom they met at Gulfstream Park in Florida. ++ The Hopkinses had promised to give a dinner party for them if they decided to run their outstanding 4-year-old, Pistols and Roses, in the Preakness Special tomorrow.
Someone quipped that the reason Damone was so relaxed was that he spent most of Wednesday playing golf at Five Farms with Jim McKay,Joe Keelty and Tom Grauel.
Ball guests dined on lobster bisque, filet of beef with mushroom sauce, twice-baked potatoes, broccoli, spring garden vegetables and grand marnier mousse.
Meanwhile, at the 31st annual Preakness Bash given by Harford County horse breeders Mary Jo and Joe Pons. more than 200 people ate roast beef, pastrami, asparagas vinagrette, spring potatoes; macaroons, and strawberries.
According to Mary Jo, a lot of her guests also had attended her first party.
Among those who said yes to her party were Martha and Mack Miller, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero; Billy Turner, Seattle Slew trainer; Virgil "Buddy" Raines, Greek Money trainer.
Others enjoying the evening were Eric and Deanna Blind, he's the official starter at Pimlico and Laurel; Father Charles K. Riepe, Hopkins University; Laddy and Susie Dance, he's a horse auctioneer; Harry and Mary Charlotte Parr, and Jerry and Caroline Stautberg, car dealer, (Caroline and Mary Charlotte are members of the Golden Girls Horse Syndicate); Michael Wettach; Margaret and Doug Worral, horse breeders and steeple chasers; Frank and Ginny Wright, horse breeders; Teddy and Mary Lou Bedford, Artie and Dottie Donovan; Sam Huff.