The Tattlers’ Preview for the Week of July 30th to August 5th

It’s going to be another fabulous week for the Toga Tattlers! First we will be joining the ladies who lunch at the Museum of Dance for the Fashionable Fillies Luncheon. This year the lunch will be honoring a woman very near and dear to our heart, the wonderful Jeannette Jordan. Then it’s off to Polo by Twilight for the annual Palamountain Scholarship Benefit, a key fundraiser for scholarship aid. Then on Wednesday, we will be skipping over to one of the most anticipated nights of the season, the 30th Annual Summer Benefit Auction for Saratoga Hospital. Next we will boogey down to Saratoga National on Saturday for Studio PRIME, a Disco Inferno, hosted by Margie and Michael Rotchford, to benefit Medical Missions for Children. Our last foray will be An Evening for Thoroughbred, a gala event celebrating Ogden Phipps for his influence on racehorse welfare hosted by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Don’t forget about the Whitney Cup happening this weekend at Saratoga Polo Association, with matches happening on both Friday and Sunday starting at 5:30. Keep your eyes open for the Tattlers all week and maybe we’ll be tattling on you next!

The 22nd Annual Silks, Satins and Stars Gala to benefit the Special Olympics of New York

It was a fabulous 1980’s themed evening on Saturday night, as the 22nd Annual Silks, Satins and Stars Gala to benefit the Special Olympics of New York got underway. It was back to the future as guests entered the Saratoga Hilton, greeted with neon cocktail tables, retro candy and a delectable chocolate fountain from We Do Fondue. We immediately bumped into Frank Mitola, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Special Olympics of New York, who was delighted to have the continued support of the community behind the evening.

“People around here have been great. The Satins, Silks and Stars Gala is our largest upstate New York fundraiser and it’s very important for us in these times to get support from the local community. We’ve got a great turnout and it looks like it’s going to be a successful evening”.

Michele and Ron Riggi

Neil and Jane Golub

Honorary Committee Chairs, Ron and Michele Riggi were spotted by the auction tables and Michele looked stunning in a floor length, aqua blue strapless dress. Celebrity guests Fox 23 News Anchor John Gray and television personality Yolanda Vega were both mingling in the crowd, as well as Yolanda’s gracious husband Miguel, who introduced himself to us with a smile as Mr. Yolanda Vega. We also spotted Michael and Margie Rotchford, Margie looking gorgeous in a slinky, silver Alice and Olivia dress. The Tattlers were delighted to chat with Honorary Event Co-Chairs Neil and Jane Golub, who have been steadfast in their support of the Special Olympics and the annual Gala. “This event has raised over 2 million dollars for children and adults with developmental disabilities. It’s a neat event, a lot of fun and we are very proud to be a part of it”.

Also seen mingling were Sam Palazzole of Saratoga Builders, famed horse trainer Gary Contessa, Kate Post, Committee Member Ciara Austin, Erin Brody, Karen diBella, Margie Castellana, Allen Caruso (in our favorite 80’s outfit of the evening), Mary Diehl, Katie Killian and Steve Kyna. Guests were kept busy at the cocktail hour perusing the many unique silent auction items, including a framed collection of Yankees World Series tickets from all 27 Championship Seasons, won by Jack Cohen and a photograph of all three Triple Crown Winning horses taken home by Reed Hatkoff. As the guests were seated for dinner, Neal Johnson, President & CEO of the Special Olympics of New York, welcomed the audience and recognized the many generous supporters, including Honored Benefactors Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson, and stressed the difference the Special Olympics makes in the lives of their athletes, families and caretakers. As dinner concluded, guests were entertained by the ‘totally awesome’ music of the Ronald Reagans, who rounded out the 1980’s themed evening perfectly.

Check out the full gallery from the evening on our facebook page here. If you have an event you’d like us to come Tattle on, email us at


Blues, Brews and BBQ at the National Museum of Dance

Friday night had a nice laid back vibe at the National Museum of Dance for the Blues, Brews and BBQ event put on by the museum’s New Action Committee to benefit children’s programming at the museum. This group of young locals is focused on gathering 20, 30 and 40 year olds and getting them more involved with the museum and the theme of the night was definitely a draw to come out and support the museum. Before we even entered the sounds of the blues group Low “n Lonesome drifted through the open doors, and once inside we didn’t know which table to hit up first. Set up for guests to enjoy was a craft beer sampling table as well as a full sampling of whiskeys and Skinny Girl cocktails, and that was just inside. Outside picnic tables were set up in the grassy courtyard and votive candles lent a charming glow as the sun set. Guests started off at the BBQ table full of the amazing PJ’s Bar-B-QSA, then made their way to a chocolate sampling table. The plates were all full and the picnic tables were full of museum supporters. We got a chance to chat with the Assistant Director of the National Museum of Dance, Sarah Hall Weaver, about the energetic New Action Committee.

“This is our second annual fundraiser of this type, and we want to use the funds from this fundraiser to build kids arts programming at the National Museum of Dance. We had an event in March with a bunch of local artists and we would love to gather those artists back and link them up with the kids classes sort of as a way to have everything feed back into each other. This is the second year that the New Action Committee has been around and we have the same core group of people that are doing great things and bringing great ideas to the group.”

Photo courtesy of Daesha Devon Harris

Photo courtesy of Daesha Devon Harris

We spotted New Action Committee members Daesha Devon Harris, Amy McQuigge and Claire Tallon in the crowd as well as Belinda Colon from Spring Street Gallery. We also talked with New Action Committee member Tom Dragonette about the upcoming plans for the kids programming at the museum. The New Action Committee’s spring fundraiser featured contemporary art and we absolutely love their idea of bringing in some of the artists featured to work with kids as a way to have children explore contemporary art.

The New Action Committee’s young energy is definitely working to generate some original and creative ideas. The Tattlers are very much looking forward to what their next fundraising idea will be, and definitely can’t wait to see the programs they help to create.

Saratoga’s Finest Fillies Event to Benefit Jake’s Help From Heaven

The storm held off on Thursday night and supporters of local Saratoga Springs foundation Jake’s Help from Heaven poured into Vapor Nightclub for a unique Saratoga style event featuring some gorgeous local women ready to race for this fantastic cause. As the Tattlers made their way through the crowd we bumped into Rebecca Beers wearing a fabulous Saratoga Trunk hat complete with a darling birds nest tucked right on top with little robin’s eggs nestled inside. Mayor Scott Johnson was there to cheer on his own filly, wife Julie, who braved the course even despite a minor injury.  Jake’s Help From Heaven was founded in 2011 and is a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting individuals with multiple medical challenges and disabilities. Heather Straughter and her husband Brian created the foundation in honor of their son Jake, who passed away in 2010. We spoke with Heather about this first “adult’s only” event.

“We are completely overwhelmed by the turnout for this event. This is the first adults night out even we’ve held, we’ve done two years of family events and we feel so blessed from the support we’ve received from this community. And for us it’s always bittersweet because it is so much fun and we always have such great support but at the end of the day the reason that we are doing this is that we lost Jake. He was so brave and was such a fighter and we really love being able to keep it going in his spirit, we know that everything we’re doing now is helping us to give back to and help support people who are fighting the fight.”

Brian Straughter addressed the crowd and echoed his wife’s sentiments about the incredible support they have received from our community. As photos of Jake and their family were shown on the big screen behind him, he shared his feelings about how fortunate he and his family feel to be able to take what happened to Jake and turn it into something positive for others dealing with debilitating illnesses.

The turnout for the event was truly a testament to how much our community wants to support this family and their organization, and everyone was in high spirits as the game was about to get underway. Before it was post time, the stable of gorgeous fillies circulated through the crowd, selling raffle tickets to supporters. The rules of the game were simple. Guests were able to place bets on the filly of their choice and for every bet that was placed, guests received a raffle ticket to be placed in the box representing the filly of their choice for the chance to win prizes for Win, Place and Show finishes. Once the betting was closed the Finest Fillies lined up, ready to race. Each sporting a fabulous Saratoga Trunk hat, the fillies included Julie Johnson, Heather Straughter, Johanna Friedman, Susan Halstead, Kelly Hite, Amy Raimo, Elaine Sillery, Christianne Smith and Melissa Zieker. Natalie Sillery and Skip Carlson were the race announcers, and Skip’s lovely wife Colleen ran the Plinko game which determined the winner.

Elaine Sillery started out with an early lead and in the end was the victor after a close race on the dance floor. Amy Raimo and Johanna Friedman rounded out the winners circle with their Place and Show wins and everyone was ready to hit the dance floor to celebrate the fashionable race. Spotted in the crowd were Mylea Aldrich, Mary Gavin and Jim Lavigne, Mary Alice Lee looking fab in Jude Connally, Lisa Gabryshak and Sharon and Marc Brynczka. Plus the winner of the Winning Place raffle got to go home that night planning their five night trip to the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort.

Overall it was an extremely successful event for the first adults only Jake’s Help from Heaven benefit. In total the event raised $10,619, including the extra $5 Saratoga Casino donated per person in attendance. The Tattlers absolutely loved the Finest Fillies race idea, and we can’t wait to see what the foundation will have in store for their next event.

The Saratoga Bridges Annual Gala “The White Party” presented by DIAGEO and CDPHP

It was a beautiful scene at Fasig Tipton on Saturday night as nearly 500 people arrived for Saratoga Bridges Annual White Party presented by DIAGEO & CDPHP. Guests were dressed in their finest white attire, sipping champagne in the warm summer breeze. The venue looked fabulous, with décor by Michael Panza and Fine Affairs and all white flowers arrangements studded with feathers by the Posie Peddler. Beth Alexander looked stunning in a one shoulder, draped cocktail dress while fellow Co-Chair Julie Bonacio was radiant in a full length Swarovski crystal-encrusted gown; both ladies were outfitted by Theia through Saratoga Trunk. Beth’s husband Jasper Alexander may have made the most memorable entrance of all, on a 1969 Schwin Suburban bike, ready in his Chef’s whites if Kevin Sykes needed him! As guests waited for the live auction to begin, we spotted the gorgeous Laura Farrar sporting a high bun to keep cool and in a darling white dress. She was chatting with Heather Straughter who we were delighted to learn was actually wearing her wedding dress!

Guests headed into the auction room and the bidding kicked off with a spirited call to the post by Sam the Bugler. The crowd was generous in their bidding, thanks to the help of auctioneers Chad Beatty and Sonny Bonacio. When trying to raise the bidding on the $10,000 Bonacio Construction home renovation, Beatty persuaded with, “Ladies, Sonny will show up personally in cut-offs and work boots”. The crowd erupted with laughter and, incidentally this did start a bidding war between Tom Valentine and Richard Meyers, eventually selling to Meyers for an impressive $15,000. Other standout items included a Hattie’s Buckets and Beers’ party which went for $3100 to Tom & Connie D’Ambra, a one of a kind custom ring from DeJonghe Jewellers won by Charles and Candace Wait and a Tammy Loya photo shoot that Jackie and Tom Sanford were lucky to bring home. The auction concluded with  Saratoga Bridges’ Creative Endeavors artists, Adam and Shannon showcasing a collaborative piece called “Lady Godiva”, with an estimated value of $1,000, that sold for a winning bid of $1,500 to Tom & Connie D’Ambra.

Co-Chairs of the event Beth Alexander and Julie Bonacio

Maureen McAuliffe with Congressional candidate Matt Doheney, his beautiful wife Mary, and Gloria Ford

Heather and Brian Straughter

As the auction came to an end, guests were ushered outside to enjoy the divine summer evening with food by Mazzone Hospitality, including Cuban paninis, mini hamburgers and to top it off, vintage ice cream sandwiches. Revelers also enjoyed refreshing cocktails courtesy of Diageo. The sounds of Grand Design could be heard throughout Fasig Tipton as we spotted Congressional candidate Matt Doheney and his lovely wife Mary, chatting with Gloria Ford who looked like perfection in a white crocheted dress. John Witt was also spotted looking dashing in what seemed to be the go to choice for the men that evening, white linen. Michele Riggi was looking gorgeous, and was in attendance with husband Ron. Also spotted were Rich and Mary Ferguson, the stunning Beth Smith, Kathy and Harvey Fox, Dan and Cathy Cheeseman, Kathleen Monaco, Christianne Smith, Alice Mancini, Janet and Bill Carley, Linda and Laura Bonacio, Natalie Sillery and Rebecca Beers of Saratoga Trunk, Nikki and Nial Roche, Kate JaroshKimberley Adams and Jeff Russell. The Tattlers caught up with Julie Bonacio as the party came to a close and she was very pleased with the evening’s events, “We were so happy with the enthusiasm the crowd had for the live auction, and Fasig Tipton looked beautiful thanks to the talents of Fine Affairs, Posie Peddler, and Mazzone Hospitality. All the guests looked lovely in their white attire. It was the perfect Saratoga summer evening.”

Saratoga Bridges was delighted to announce on Monday that the evening raised a record $89,000 for their programs and services.

Check out the full gallery from the evening on our facebook page here. If you have an event you’d like us to come Tattle on, email us at


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The Tattlers’ Preview for the Week of July 23rd-29th

The Tattlers have another fabulous week lined up! First on our agenda, how could we pass up ‘Blues, Brews and BBQ‘ at the National Museum of Dance? We can’t wait to enjoy some of our favorite things as we join their New Action Committee and nosh on PJ’s BAR-B-QSA and sip craft beer from Saratoga Brewery. We’ll be snapping pics with Saratoga Photobooth Company and dancing to Blues Noir, Tristan Chase and Low N’ Lonesome. Then on Saturday we will be off to Satins, Silks and Stars Gala at the Saratoga Hilton to benefit the Special Olympics of New York. It will be a great week…we will see you out there!

Old Friends at Cabin Creek’s Third Annual Kickoff Cocktail Party and Live Auction

It was a beautiful summer evening at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club as the Old Friends at Cabin Creek’s Third Annual Kickoff Cocktail Party and Live Auction got underway. Guests arrived in cheerful summer attire and were all still abuzz over the opening day of the track season excitement.  As the party began, many conversations turned to a topic that goes hand in hand with the Saratoga meet, the work being done by the Old Friends at Cabin Creek. Their mission is simple, ‘to provide a dignified retirement for Thoroughbred racehorses and to raise awareness of their needs.’ Due to the diligent work of owners and managers of Cabin Creek, Mark and JoAnn Pepper, as well as a handful of volunteers, 100% of the evenings proceeds went directly to that mission.

The gorgeous Sofer Family enjoying the evening

Rick Partyka

The guests noshed on hors d’oeuvres and were entertained by the music of Frank Çhase , as they perused some of the wonderful auction items. The Tattlers had their eye on a stunning Hudson River wood horse sculpture by Rita Dee and a stay at a luxury beach house in the Outer Banks. Guests Rick Partyka and Roger and Linden Sofer enjoyed their drinks on the patio as the sun set over the 18th hole.  Also spotted in the crowd were event organizers Pat Woodruff, Joyce Anderson, Myrna Sak and June Shaw. Joyce Anderson spoke passionately about the work being done at Cabin Creek, “We take horses off the track once their careers have ended and we want to educate people about the short careers they have and what their outcome is”. Anderson went on to mention some of the spectacular athletes at the Farm now, including several Travers’ winners. The Tattlers were delighted to be able to come and support such a relevant event and are looking forward to visiting some of the championship horses Cabin Creek is providing a home for.

One of the many live auction items, a signed Cigar Silk!

You can find the live feed from this event on our Twitter page here, and check out the full gallery from the evening on our facebook page here. If you have an event you’d like us to come Tattle on, email us at

Opening Day at the Whitney Luncheon at the Saratoga Race Course

On the opening day of the Saratoga Race Course the Tattlers were so thrilled to attend an event which draws attention to the backbone of the track, the workers of the backstretch. In a luncheon given by Marylou Whitney since 1960 we spoke with Marylou’s husband John Hendrickson about their shared dedication to supporting the backstretch employees.

“This is really where our heart is, because as Marylou says, ‘They are us’. They have changed our lives and we are all better for helping each other. On Sunday nights we feed over 1,200 people at the backstretch events. Volunteers help to teach English and anywhere between 300 and 400 people come out to attend with over 200 volunteers helping from the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council, Race Track Chaplaincy and the B.E.S.T. the Backstretch Employee Service Team.”

The Tattlers were amazed by the calendar that the Backstretch Worker Appreciation Program puts on every single night of the Saratoga meet. In it’s fifth year the program provides over 1,000 backstretch workers with games, dinners, and activities for every night during the racing season in Saratoga. Between Bingo nights, a make your own sundae night courtesy of Stewart’s Shops, a Latin dancing night, movie and casino nights,  John and Marylou make it a point to attend every event personally. Their work with the backstretch is such a priority for them, that John told the Tattlers they have even graciously paused a dinner with Governor Patterson to attend an event. It is clear that their heart and energy are totally devoted to this incredibly worthy project.

John Hendrickson and Dr. Jean Buhac

Jerry Bailey with his wife Susan and son Justin

In the select crowd the Tattlers were so excited to chat with Lisa Torani, Kate Calbone, Mayor Scott Johnson and his charming wife Julie. Jerry Bailey arrived with his absolutely stunning wife Susan and handsome son Justin. Tattlers’ favorite Jim Rossi from Saratoga Polo was there as were Anne and Cot Campbell and Marlene Okby. We saw Marcia White enjoying the luncheon with Susan and Bill Dake. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco was in attendance as well as Maureen and Ed Lewi, Julie Bonacio, and Patty and Vince Riggi. Ron and Michele Riggi were at the luncheon with Michele looking stunning as usual in a beautiful black and white hat. The Tattlers asked Michele about their involvement with the backstretch appreciation program.

“This is our city, and our summer is all about horses. But we need to remember that these backstretch workers are the backbone, the cloth, the stitches of the Saratoga Race Course. Without them the people who own horses wouldn’t be able to do it. The backstretch workers are so hard working, so passionate about their work, and Marylou and  John are tireless in their support.”

Helping to add support and fun to the opening day spirit were Charlene Courtney sporting an absolutely beautiful peach hat, Dr. Jean Buhac, and of course the incredibly gracious Jeannette Jordan alongside husband Augie. Truly an inspiring luncheon, the Tattlers cannot wait to help support their events at the backstretch this season.

Michele and Ron Riggi

Mayor Scott Johnson and wife Julie

Cot Campbell and his wife Anne

You can find the live feed from this event on our Twitter page here, and check out the full gallery from the evening on our facebook page here. If you have an event you’d like us to come Tattle on, email us at Check back to find out where the Tattlers will be mingling next…

The 19th Annual Marini Builders Siro’s Cup to benefit the Center for Disability Services

The anticipation was building on Thursday in Saratoga Springs. On the eve of track season people just could not wait for the fun to start, and they didn’t have to. The 19th Annual Marini Builders Siro’s Cup to benefit the Center for Disability Services was ready to kick off at the venerable Siro’s just steps from the Saratoga Race Course. People started filing in even before the event started. This event is always highly anticipated in the Spa City and to say it was well attended would be an understatement. The Tattlers caught the night’s honoree, horse trainer Linda Rice, as she came in through the crowd and she expressed her excitement about being honored at the event.

Center for Disability Services Foundation Deputy Executive Director Anne Schneider Costigan with honoree Linda Rice

In front of a packed, wall to wall crowd at Siro’s, Honorary Chairperson George Hearst and Billy Fuccillo spoke in glowing appreciation for all that Linda has done for the sport of horse racing. Linda was presented with a stunning watercolor of City Zip, one of her favorite horses created for her by artist James Fiorentino. James donates his artwork as a way to support the Center for Disability Services and this is the tenth year he has created the presentation piece. The guests erupted with appreciation when Billy Fuccillo made a surprise announcement that the Fuccillo Automotive Group would donate $50,000 to the Center for Disability Services. Linda was grace personified when she accepted the honors, and the guests were ready to celebrate with her as the night kicked into high gear.

It was touching to see such a great number of supporters in this well dressed crowd full of horse trainers, jockeys, racing enthusiasts and more who turned out to support the Center for Disability Services. In the bow tied and brightly colored milieu the Tattlers spotted the publisher of the NY Post Paul Carlucci and Jane Thompson chatting with Leona and John Velazquez, Patty and Jeff Novo, and Donna Duffy and Dr. Darroch Moores.

Publisher of the NY Post Paul Carlucci and Jane Thompson with Leona and John Velazquez

We caught up with Center for Disability Services Foundation Deputy Executive Director Anne Schneider Costigan who was thrilled with the turnout for the event, in it’s 19th year.

“The Siro’s Cup brings so much positive attention to the Center for Disability Services and its mission.  Every year, the hundreds of people who attend, including those who represent all aspects of horse racing, raise money and also focus community awareness on the programs and services we provide for the Center’s students and adult program participants. The Center has been around for 70 years, and the generosity from people in the greater Capital Region allows us to continue our work on behalf of individuals and families.  They are the reason the Center is the place where people get better at life.”

After the presentation guests split their time between the silent auction tent and the dance floor, moving to the fabulous Electric City Horns. Spotted at Siro’s that night we saw Danielle Milot, Elaine Sillery and Bridget Milot, Georgie Nugent and Brian Lussier, and Jim Kiely won the unofficial Toga Tattlers Best Dressed Award for his fab Lilly Pulitzer pants. Tracie Williams, Angela Beddoe and Elizabeth Macy were there to support the Center for Disability Services, and we also saw Heidi Shull, Jen Rodgers and Sandy Gonzalez. Gloria Ford, Amy Hollander and Rebecca Marino were also there sharing some horse tips with the Tattlers, and we were delighted to get a chance to chat with the gorgeous couple Eli Rabinowitz and Kate Otis about their upcoming plans for the busy summer season. As a prelude to the track season in Saratoga Springs this party could not be beat. Guests dined, toasted with cocktails, danced and laughed under the stars. As the party finally drew to a close guests headed home with dreams of racing on their minds and tips gleaned from the in the know guests ready to be tried. If the success of this event is any way to judge the rest of the racing meet it is guaranteed to be a winning season for Saratoga, the event raised more than $200,000 to benefit Adult Services at the Center for Disability Services, an amazing example of a night thoroughly enjoyed by all.

You can find the live feed from this event on our Twitter page here, and check out the full gallery from the evening on our facebook page here. If you have an event you’d like us to come Tattle on, email us at

The Tattlers’ Preview for the Week of July 16th-22nd

We have waited patiently all year to finally to say it… the Tattlers are off to the races this week! We will be kicking off the start of the track season at the 19th Annual Marini Builders Siro’s Cup on Thursday, benefiting the Center for Disability Services. We will be dancing on the Siro’s patio and celebrating the beginning of what is sure to be a spectacular season.

Our next stop will be opening day itself on Friday…the Tattlers will be peeking out from under the brim of our favorite hats and looking for you as we enjoy a day of long awaited racing. Then we will be back out hitting the town on a packed Saturday evening. The Tattlers will be starting their night at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club for Old Friends at Cabin Creek Third Annual Kickoff Cocktail Party, to benefit thoroughbred retirement.

Next on Saturday evening we will head on over to Saratoga Bridges Annual White Party presented by DIAGEO & CDPHP at Fasig Tipton. Co-Chaired by Julie Bonacio and Beth Alexander. It’s going to be a great week in Saratoga Springs, we will see you out there!