Just days before the famed Belmont Stakes, the third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, the Oheka Castle in Huntington, N.Y. will host the inaugural Belmont Ball. The event is a fundraiser for Old Friends, a Thoroughbred Retirement Center with locations in Georgetown, KY and Greenfield Center, NY.
The gala will take place Wednesday June 6th from 6 pm to 10 pm at the historic Gold Coast mansion located at 135 West Gate Drive in Huntington, NY. Guests will enjoy a small-plate buffet, an open bar, and racing-themed cakes and pastries from Oheka's Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Andreotte.
Highlights of the benefit will be live and silent auctions of select racing memorabilia and the presentation of the first "Frankel Award," named in honor of late New York-based Thoroughbred trainer Bobby Frankel and given to an individual in the racing industry who best exemplifies the mission of Old Friends.
This year's recipient will be Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, racing secretary for Thoroughbred owners Jerry and Ann Moss, wife of trainer John Shirreffs, and an integral member of "Team Zenyatta." Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen will make the presentation.
"Everyone at Old Friends is thrilled that Oheka is donating this evening to help all of our great retired Thoroughbreds," said Blowen of the Belmont Ball. "It's a wonderful tribute to the legacy of Bobby Frankel and his love for all animals-especially dogs and horses. And it'll be a lot of fun."
"Visiting Oheka Castle is a treat everyone should experience," added hotel owner Gary Melius, "and what better way to do that than by supporting Old Friends and their Thoroughbred champions." Tickets to the Belmont Ball are $250 and tables of 10 are available for $2,000. Reservations can be made by calling Old Friends at (502) 863-1775.
Oheka Castle is the second largest private residence ever constructed in America. Financier and philanthropist Otto Hermann Kahn built the French-style chateau during the Gilded Age in the 1920s and used the lavish 127-room estate as a summer home. But after Kahn's death in 1934 the castle changed hands often and eventually fell into ruin until 1984 when developer Gary Melius purchased Oheka and restored it to its original grandeur.
Today Oheka is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular venue for society weddings and other galas. The castle has also provided a backdrop to many film and television productions, including Citizen Kane in 1941, and has been featured on such programs as Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Platinum Weddings, and America's Castles, among others.
For more information about Old Friends Kentucky call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org; For Old Friends at Cabin Creek call (518) 698-2377.
For information about Oheka Castle call (631) 659-1400 or see the website at www.oheka.com.