Bookstore Garden Party

On a beautiful summer evening last Monday, the Tattlers got a chance to head to the home of Saratoga resident Pat Friesen who hosted a divine garden party in honor of the Morrow family.  Chris Morrow, who was accompanied by his parents Ed and Barbara Morrow are from the Northshire Bookstore located in Manchester, Vermont. The Morrows came to talk to a select group of Saratogians about their hope to expand the Northshire Bookstore to Saratoga; taking over the first floor of the former Borders space which has remained vacant for over a year. Spotted in attendance were Tom and Kristie Roohan, Rod and Amy Sutton, Colin and Christel Maclean, Joanne Yepsen, Todd Shimkus, and Cathy Lanci. Guests sipped on sun tea and sparkling beverages in the garden while getting the chance to talk one on one with the Morrow family. The Northshire Bookstore’s success has been long standing. Established in 1976 and starting out in a 1,000 square foot retail space the Manchester branch has expanded now to a 10,000 square foot retail space and has been awarded The Publisher’s Weekly Book Seller of the Year. Morrow believes they will be successful because their philosophy toward book selling combines a community approach with a strong sense of business. They are keen on Saratoga Springs and see similarities between the market they thrive in and the market we have here. There is one challenge that they face and it is whether or not they can raise enough money to make the expansion to our community. From the energy and show of support that night, we can say that they definitely have the community rallying for them.

The Tattlers Preview for the Week of August 27th to September 2nd

The summer may be winding down but the Tattlers are still in full swing! This week we will be heading to Vapor Night Club for the 2nd Annual “Party to Make  Difference”. The evening will be hosted by Benita Zahn and all proceeds will go towards Simplifying Lives, an organization providing services and relieving the stress associated with undergoing cancer treatments. We will see you there!

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The 2012 Travers Celebration

It was some fabulous after hours fun at the At the Rail Pavilion at Saratoga Race Course to celebrate the annual mid-summer derby. Guests arrived ready to dance for this uniquely Saratoga event to benefit the Backstretch Employee Service Team, the Times Union Hope Fund and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The Travers Celebration has raised more than $1.1 million for non-profit organizations in the thoroughbred industry and throughout the greater Capital Region since its inception over a decade ago and the night promised to be another successful event for fundraising with great silent and live auctions on tap for guests. It was quite a treat to get to see the track under the stars, and there were luxe white couches set up outside the pavilion tent where guests gathered and chatted. All of the jockeys were there and we were thrilled to see John Velazquez, Javier Castellano, Rajiv Maragh, Edgar Prado and Ramon Dominguez, whose wife Sharon was a Co-Chair of the event.

Sharon and Ramon Dominguez

Guests were there to raise funds for three very worthy organizations. The Backstretch Employee Service Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing care and service to maintain the health and well-being of employees in the backstretch. The major emphasis of the Times Union “Hope Fund” is on expanding after-school and summer programs for low income and at-risk children, which will have a significant impact on the quality of life for children in the Capital Region. The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is a charity that provides financial assistance to some 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Since its founding in 2006, the fund has disbursed over $3 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries.

Inside the tent we spotted event Co-Chair George R. Hearst III, NYRA President Ellen McClain, Charlie and Mary Lou Wheeler, racing writer and broadcaster Steve Byk, retired jockey Richard Migliore, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Jim Gallagher, and NYRA Vice Chairman Michael Del Guidice mingling inside. Partygoers sipped cocktails from sponsor Ketel One Vodka and enjoyed offerings like seared scallops and ahi tuna tacos. The night was full of excitement with the enigmatic LeGrande Serras doing the live auction and the always great New York Players had everyone dancing. Jeff and Lauren Cannizzo, Rick Partyka and daughter Cassandra and Justin Jordan were outside enjoying the chance to have a look at the historic race course at night where a well stocked dessert table was set up outside the tent. Guests gathered once again on the couches to trade Travers picks and make predictions of the big race.

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A Night of Denim and Diamonds to benefit the Belmont Child Care Association and Anna House

If you wanted to spot the top players in horse racing, Denim and Diamonds was the place to do it during Travers Week. They were all under one roof Wednesday night as guests arrived at the beautiful Gideon Putnam hotel to raise money for the Belmont Child Care Association and Anna House. The Belmont Child Care Association is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to raise the financial resources necessary to maintain a quality child care center, Anna House, for the benefit of working families at the New York Racing Association’s Thoroughbred racetracks. Although quality child care is expensive, the BCCA ensures that a lack of financial resources will not prevent backstretch families from taking advantage of the services that Anna House offers. Right as the party started it was already full, with guests perusing the silent auction tables and tasting the blue margaritas. Nice and casual, there were lots of guests sporting some great denim and we spotted a few pairs of fab cowboy boots as well.

Honoree Barbara Banke with Tracy and Todd Pletcher

We had our ears open for horse tips as we saw Steve Asmussen and Kiaran McLaughlin chatting with D. Wayne Lukas and Scott Blasi, and we got a chance to talk with jockey Javier Castellano as he arrived. Julien Leparoux was there with his fiancée Shea Mitchell and we snapped a picture of Honoree Barbara R. Banke with trainer Todd Pletcher. Mike and Jill DeAnzeris, Jeff and Lauren Cannizzo, Patty and Jeff Novo, and John and Leona Velazquez were there to support Anna House, and David Cassidy even jumped in and played with the Special Creek Bluegrass Band! Honorary Co-Chairs Paul and JoAnn Oreffice chatted with Suzee and Jerry Bailey and before guests took their seats we spoke with Executive Director of Belmont Child Care Association Donna Chenkin.

It’s a pretty amazing event because everyone from the horse community is here for Travers week and everyone comes straight from the races. We have D. Wayne Lukas as our auctioneer and he always makes everything fun. Anna House is all run completely on donations, and this is a fun event where people can come out and help support the children.

We absolutely fell in love with the decor once we went in for the dinner and live auction. The cowboy hat centerpieces were perfect, and we just adored the oversized diamond napkin rings. Virginia Kraft Payson was at a table nearby as George Bolton, who owned Curlin with Barbara Banke and her late husband Jess Jackson, introduced the honoree, telling guests that Barbara “has been a giver in everything she has done in her life”. Barbara, owner of Stonestreet Farm, knows a thing or two about picking a winner. Stonestreet’s campaign of 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year Curlin, and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra ignited the racing industry. Barbara and George Bolton also own the filly My Miss Aurelia, whose namesake, Bolton’s mother, was also in attendance. Barbara graciously thanked everyone for attending the benefit and for supporting Anna House, and spoke of how much they enjoyed having Rachel Alexandra run for charity. Guests responded with a great round of applause after Barbara shared plans for donating at least half of the proceeds of her next winners at the Spa to Anna House.

D. Wayne Lukas and Scott Blasi

David Cassidy jumped in and played a few tunes with the band

Michael Dubb, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Belmont Child Care Association took the stage next and told guests that “We are all one big family taking care of our racetrack family”. He told everyone how incredibly hard the entire board works, crediting Faye Donk for “doing whatever it takes”, and Libby Loftus, Laura Barillaro and Marc Keller for their tireless efforts. He spoke of Donna and Stuart Chenkin, telling guests that “this is their passion, without them there would be no Anna House”.

Guests were treated to Stonestreet wines and a fabulous dinner from Gideon Putnam, the highlight being an amazing blueberry dessert that looked almost too pretty to eat. It was topped with a blue sugar sheet and dotted with crystal sugar sprinkles as a deliciously playful nod to the Denim and Diamonds theme. It soon was time for the live auction, and Michael welcomed “legendary” D. Wayne Lukas to start the bidding.

Todd Pletcher worked the crowd helping Wayne out and the bidding action was as intense as a big race on the track. Michael Del Giudice was a high bidder at $5,000 for a Kymco Agility 50 scooter, and Alexis Doyle was the high bidder at $1,500 for dinner for eight at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Sada, the Consul General of of Mexico in New York. Paul Hornug, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame half-back was the high bidder via telephone at $4,700 for a trip to a villa in Tuscany, Italy. Michael Imperio was a high bidder at $5,000 for a fantasy basketball game for twenty at Madison Square Garden. Tina and Wayne Evans were high bidders on a shadow box of Animal Kingdom’s halter and roses from the Kentucky Derby garland, which they promptly donated to the children of Anna House. Overall it was an incredibly successful event for the Belmont Child Care Association and Anna House. All of the hard work put into the event certainly paid off, with an astounding total of $320,000 being raised!

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 14th Annual Saratoga Fashion Show to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region

The 14th Annual Saratoga Fashion Show promised ‘world class fashion for a world class cause’ and Thursday’s event certainly delivered. The sold out afternoon was truly a who’s who of Saratoga, all coming out to support Ronald McDonald House Charities. Guests arrived and mingled in the beautifully appointed At the Rail Pavilion Tent and were treated to a champagne toast courtesy of Crush and Cask Wine and Spirits, with bottles of cold bubbly on every table. The Tattlers immediately spotted Natalie Sillery as she and her models prepared for what would be a dazzling fashion show. Natalie, owner of Saratoga Trunk, was the Honorary Chair of the festivities, emceed the fashion show and looked radiant in a Don O’Neill of THEIA dress, that Don would later say was inspired by a picture of a sunset, taken by his brother.

photo courtesy of Erica Miller

The show began with a special proclamation from Mayor Scott Johnson that recognized Natalie for all she has done in the community and for RMHC, raising a staggering $900,000 over the years. As he concluded his remarks, Mayor Johnson announced that August 23rd would from here on be known as ‘Natalie Sillery Day’ in Saratoga, to the absolute delight of the crowd. Natalie came out to be recognized with a standing ovation from the audience and a raucous round of cheering from her models.  As Natalie took the stage, she spoke passionately about the work that RMHC does and the crowd was introduced to several personal stories of people whose lives were changed by the ‘house that love built’. One such story was from a young mother named Shannon who, while pregnant with twin girls, stayed at a Ronald McDonald house in New Jersey with her husband and 20 month old son, while addressing complications in her pregnancy. Her stay was two weeks long and epitomized the supportive, caring environment the RMHC provides to families. Her story truly underscored the importance of the day’s events and the crowd was totally engaged as the fashion show began.

Honoree Natalie Sillery and designer Kay Unger

The day featured two designers, Kay Unger and Don O’Neill of Theia who were both introduced to the cheering audience before the show began. Kay, wearing a beautiful black and white strapless dress, discussed the important work of RMHC and made a generous $5000 dollar donation to RMHC on the spot. Natalie then kicked off the show with music from Bobby Vendetta of the Audiostars. The hour long show showcased a fabulous array of day and evening wear, with Sillery’s models dazzling the audience in their stunning ensembles, many of them complemented with gorgeous pieces from Peter Ciesla of Bazyli Studios. Some of the models included Benita Zahn, Colleen Hart Carlson, Heather Straughter, Ciara Austin, Julie Johnson, Rebecca Beers, Kate Otis and Carole Moreau. Catching all the catwalk action were Patty Riggy, Nikki Roche, Sandy Foley, Tammy Loya, Michele Riggi, Beth Alexander and beautiful daughter Zoe (also a model!). Others in attendance included Mara King, Frankie and Ann Marie Flores, Mark Moreau, Leisha Arbogast, Melissa Zieker, Deborah Docyk, Kristina Krawchuk who cameup from the city for the event.  The Tattlers caught up with Kay Unger after the show, who was thrilled with the luncheon and the day’s events. “Natalie is such a wonderful role model and she does the best job combining fashion and philanthropy.” The success of the event was also due in large part to Jeff Yule, RMHC Executive Director and Chris Turner, Director of Special Events and what Natalie described as their ‘herculean efforts’.

Dr. Joy Lucas, Don O’Neill of THEIA and Michele Riggi

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 August 20th-26th

It’s the peak of the Saratoga racing season and the Tattlers will be all over town reporting on the who’s who of Travers’ week events. Our first stop will be at the Denim and Diamond’s Benefit at the Gideon Putnam, which will feature a silent and live auction, dinner and dancing. The evening’s proceeds will all go to benefit the Belmont Child Care Association, which helps backstretch families by providing early childhood education and after school tutoring.

Next we will be off to the 14th Annual Saratoga Fashion Show, held Thursday at the Saratoga Race Course, to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region. Natalie Sillery will be presenting the glamorous show that will feature the latest from the catwalks of New York City designers and styles from Saratoga Trunk.

Then we will trot over the official party of the Travers Stakes, the 2012 Travers Celebration. The party will feature fabulous cocktails and exceptional food stations as attendees dance away the night to the music of the New York Players. All of the proceeds from the celebration will benefit the Backstretch Employee Services Team and the Times Union Hope Fund. Friday night the Tattlers will be perfecting their palates at the National Museum of Racing for the 14th Annual Travers Wine Tasting. On the eve of the Travers Stakes, the tasting will benefit Senior Services of Albany’s ‘Meals on Wheels’ program and other senior-related services. Then it’s off to the races! We will be at the track on Saturday taking in all the excitement of the 1 million dollar Travers Stakes and celebrating one of the best days of racing in Saratoga.

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The 3rd Annual Wins for Kids Event for Easter Seals New York

Saturday the Tattlers were back at the track as Easter Seals New York hosted its 3rd Annual ‘Wins for Kids’ event. Easter Seals is the nation’s leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental, physical, and mental disabilities, and other special needs. Easter Seals New York provides exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. For more than 90 years, Easter Seals New York has been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. The annual fundraiser is to benefit Camp Colonie, a fully accessible summer camp that serves more than 68 children in the Capital District. Camp Colonie, serving the Capital District and beyond, is a recreational and educational camp for children with disabilities and their typically developing peers. The camp goes beyond traditional summer day camp activities by ensuring each camper’s educational goals and objectives are addressed through a full-day, approved ‘School Without Walls’ program. This allows students with twelve-month Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to continue to have their educational and developmental needs met, while enjoying traditional camp activities. Licensed therapists also provide speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

“We are thrilled to be able to host such an exciting and successful event that supports Easter Seals New York’s mission of providing children with disabilities or special needs with an exceptional camp environment at Camp Colonie,” said Richard Lauricella, Chairman of Easter Seals New York’s Capital District Board.

The event kicked off with a special presentation of ‘The Wilson Elser Community Achievement Award’ to HANYS Solutions, in honor of their wonderful generosity and the support they have given to Camp Colonie and Easter Seals New York. “We are very excited to be able to honor HANYS Solutions this year at Wins for Kids,” said John McGrath, Executive Director of Easter Seals New York, “we are deeply grateful for their compassion for children with disabilities and special needs.”

After the awards presentation guests took a spin around the silent auction table, which boasted an impressive gallery of items to choose from. An autographed Joe Namath Jets football helmet saw some intense bidding, as did a Rory McIlroy autographed 2011 US Open photo. Perhaps the most exciting item (and the one the Tattlers coveted most of all) was a 2013 Kentucky Derby Experience for two valued at $12,000. The auction table also had some great New York donors, with items from the NY Giants, the NY Rangers and the NY Yankees!

As guests picked horses, enjoyed gourmet food stations and cocktails, Sam the Bugler stopped by to play some tunes. The Fifth race was the Easter Seals and HANYS Solutions race and the Tattlers were in the Winners Circle as Nelson Avenue charged ahead to victory. We snapped a photo of the board of Easter Seals NY in the winners circle as they celebrated the win. Overall it was a winning day for Easter Seals New York, with the incredibly successful event raising $40,000 for Camp Colonie.


The Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hats Luncheon

Saratoga Race Course was pretty in pink on Friday as the track kicked off its Fabulous Fillies Day, all to raise awareness and funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  The Tattlers were delighted to attend one of the highlights of the day, the Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hats Luncheon, co-chaired by Joanne Adams, Debbie Finley, Tanya Luzzi and Catalina Mueller. The lunch was at the Rail Pavilion tent,  aglow in hot pink, with bold streamers draped across the room and beautiful pink bows tied to every seat. The tables were accentuated with brightly printed tablecloths, black napkins and flowers from the Posie Peddler. Jeannine Edwards from ESPN emceed the event, welcoming the crowd of beautiful ladies to the luncheon. This year the event was in memory of Evelyn Lauder, Breast Cancer Research Foundation Founder and Chairman. Since founding BCRF in 1993, Lauder lead the organization’s efforts in raising more than $325 million to support breast cancer research. The crowd was stunning, as the women of Saratoga turned out in their most spectacular pink outfits.

The Tattlers spotted Michele Riggi looking gorgeous in a wide brimmed custom made KOKIN magenta hat and Valentino dress, and Joanne Adams looking festive in an orange and pink ensemble. On one side of the tent ladies were shopping in the Fabulous Fillies Boutique, with everything from hats to dresses and much more all for sale. The Tattlers had to stop and try on some of the hats from Encounter, with owner Beth Harr’s expertise. We also popped by the Pink Paddock Boutique and chatted with owners Kim Burton and Steve Snyder who were passing out adorable pink wristbands with citronella on them to help keep summer mosquitos at bay. Also seen shopping were Honorary Chairpersons Margie Rotchford, Patty Riggi, and Julie Bonacio. We chatted with Julie who had a gaggle of her old friends from school and Escada stylist Joseph Saucier looking dashing in searsucker. We bumped into Committee Member Cindy Hollowood in a stylish navy blue and pink dress complete with fabulous hat and pal Joyce Cornick looking elegant in magenta. Also seen were Sandy Foley, Blanda Houston, Angela Beddoe, Ellen McClain, Mara King, Lisa ToraniMelanie Dallas, Leona Velazquez with her beautiful daughter and Anna Seitz.The ladies took their seats and noshed on a Caprese Salad as Jeannine Edwards welcomed the group and the speakers got underway. NYRA President and COO Ellen McLain spoke to the room and NYRA presented a donation of $10,000 to support the BCRF work in finding a cure for breast cancer by funding clinical and translational research worldwide. Honoree Virginia Kraft Payson was also recognized for her dazzling array of accomplishments, including her work as a sports journalist and author, and her status as one of the most respected thoroughbred horse owners and breeders in the industry. The Keynote Speaker was J. Dirk Iglehart, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. He lead an informative and compelling talk on Breast Cancer: How We Are Winning the Race. It was a beautiful afternoon with some amazing ladies, and the Tattlers were tickled pink to have been there.

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12th Annual Race for Choice Luncheon

The twelfth annual Race for Choice event held on Wednesday, August 8th was a great success! Nearly 100 attendees raised $19,000 to support Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson’s (PPMH) A.C. Riley Center in Saratoga Springs. The stunning gardens of the Union Gables Inn & Suites provided the perfect backdrop for the delicious luncheon catered by Kim Klopstock’s The Lily & The Rose.

The event embraces the celebrated tradition of fashionable hats at the races while raising much needed funds to provide services to individuals in the Saratoga community. Each summer, backstretch employees and other track workers go to this health center for breast, cervical and testicular cancer screenings; birth control; emergency contraception; treatment of sexually transmitted infections; and HIV screening.

During the event, Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson’s Co-CEO Paul Drisgula thanked the Benefit Committee Chair Barbara Stevenson and her Honorary Co-Chairs, Gail Peters Beitz, Marti Carey, Sally Hill, Dianna Lamolli, Jo Ann Pepper Oreffice and Diana Pikulski for graciously lending their support and playing a crucial role in the success of the Race for Choice. He spoke about the health services and education programs Planned Parenthood provides in Saratoga County.

Attendees at the event enjoyed the silent auction of beautiful hats and select men’s items donated by friends of Planned Parenthood. Two pieces of artwork were sold by live auction by PPMH Board Chair, Roberta Steiner. A print of a vintage Belmont paddock scene was donated by Elinor Penna and a framed silk scarf commemorating the Travers Stakes was donated by Nancy Kelly. The high bidders were Dr. Stanley Yake and Kenneth Beitz.

Barbara Stevenson, Anne Palamountain and Sally Hill



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13th Annual Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Gala

It was all about the horses last Sunday, August 5th as the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation held their 13th annual Gala to benefit life after racing for the animals that make the sport. The “New York, New York” themed event was held at the City Center in downtown Saratoga. The cocktail hour was beautiful, champagne was passed as well as a variety of delicious small bites; this gave guests time to mingle and peruse the silent auction. The event was catered by Mazzone Hospitality and the décor was orchestrated by Fine Affairs. Together, they set the scene as if you were standing in Central Park, complete with street vendor-style food stations. A lot of big names in the industry stepped out for the event, Julien Laparoux arrived with his fiancée Shea Mitchell and what a handsome couple they make. Also in attendance was Jeff Cannizzo, head of the NYS Thoroughbred Breeders Association was spotted catching up with John Angelos. TRF’s Diana Pikulski was there with her husband Bob Duncan, Diana has been involved with the TRF since she was a teenager. Bailey Romans, daughter of horse trainer Dale Romans arrived with race commentator Andy Serling. Rozie Gagliano was seen mingling with friends, and she looked absolutely stunning in a beaded white tank dress that glimmered in every light; her husband Jim is the president of the Jockey Club. Paul Saylor of PHS Racing was spending time talking with his good friend and horse trainer, the lovely Terry Pompey. Javier Castellano was spotted with Pam Petruska, and over by the bar we caught up with Suzie O’Caine and Jerry Bilinski who are both board members of the NYS Thoroughbred Breeders Association. After the cocktail hour guests were ushered into the main dining room that was decorated with New York City street signs and images of the Big Apple. As guests took their seats, co-hosts Tom Durkin and Carolyn Conley greeted the crowd and kept the laughs coming. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the annual Earle Mack TRF Champion Award. This special honor was awarded to Mr. Ogden Mills Phipps for his unwavering dedication to the thoroughbreds; he received a well-deserved standing ovation. The incredible live auction included exotic vacations to places such as Machu Pichuu, a girls weekend getaway in NYC, and of course the main event which is the live auction of stallion season for 8 horses including Ghostzapper and Freud. The TRF gala raised more than 400,000 this year, a very successful “New York City” summer night in Saratoga Springs.

Jockey Julien Laparoux and his fiancee Shea Mitchell

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