Derby Day Party a winner for Caring Children Clothing Children and the Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation

By Jo Baxter and Beverly B. Jones


The crowd watching the Kentucky Derby horse race in western Palm City knew the winners before the race even began. The winners were disadvantaged children helped by Caring Children Clothing Children and 60 horses rescued by the Equine Adoption and Rescue Foundation. The Kentucky Derby fundraiser was the second year the two charities hosted the event together.

“The fastest horse was later disqualified, but this party was an unqualified success,” said Gigi Suntum, executive director of Caring Children Clothing Children. “We raised money to help children and horses, which is always a winning bet,” added Marilynn Vannucci of the Equine Adoption and Rescue Foundation.

001Gayle Grimly, Dennis Grimly, Mike Tenzyk

The Kentucky Derby watch party was held on the grounds of the Equine Rescue center, where participants could admire the group’s rescued horses, some of whom are former race horses. The rescue group has found new homes for hundreds of abandoned and abused horses, after nursing them to health.

Caring Children Clothing Children helps some 3,500 needy children yearly with free clothes and free tutoring in reading and math.


Although the weather was gray and rainy, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 125 guests who attended the event, largely held indoors this year. During a break in the weather, several horses were brought from the barn to meet the guests and pose for photos.

Many of the women and one gentleman enjoyed participating in the hat contest. Guests were encouraged to vote for their favorite hat with money to increase the overall success of the fundraiser.
Beverly Jones was the first-place winner, wearing her custom-creation festooned with dollar bills, glitter and flowers. Beverly encouraged the guests to match her donation with their own dollars and raised a total of $275.


A silent auction with many handsome gifts and an active 50/50 added to the festivity of the day. Delicious appetizers, desserts, beverages including mint juleps, wine and beer were perfect accompaniments to a festive event that benefited children and horses.

002Melanie Brooks & Sharon Nealy

Thank you so much to our participating businesses and sponsors.