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Kentucky Derby party benefits LWR Medical Center

The Lake Club was transformed into Churchill Downs South during Saturday’s Kentucky Derby when the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Auxiliary hosted its second annual fundraiser during the annual Run for the Roses.

Auxiliary president Priscilla Haflich played the part of the gracious Southern hostess as she welcomed arrivals to the Grande Clubhouse. Of course, rose topiaries and bouquets were the natural choice for the decorations and they were arranged throughout the rooms.

Race watching was almost an afterthought for the hundred-plus guests. The pre-race festivities were shown on a big screen television, but everyone seemed content to visit, sip their mint juleps and bid on the silent auction packages.

Hat-watching was a popular spectator sport, though. Almost all of the women, and a few men, wore elegant creations. Several decorated their own, including René Boyer, Anita Sabato and Eileen Boehm.

Linda Widra purchased her hat at the recent Lakewood Ranch craft fair and Linda Meisenbach’s stunning topper was made by Sarasota designer Nikki Sedacca. And, since she’s never seen without a hat, Edith Barr-Dunn had plenty from which to choose.

The crowd did gather around the television when the horses ran. Mine That Bird’s surprising upset paid off for NJ Logan, who won the party’s betting pool.

After the excitement of the race, everyone enjoyed a buffet dinner, with the requisite derby pie for dessert.

Seen among the ladies and gents at the party were auxiliary past president Mark Riley, board member Virginia and Jeff Orenstein, board member Lyn and Bill Griffiths and LWRMC staff members Kimberly Donaghy and Kari Knop.