The competition at the track couldn’t hold a candle to the races at Vapor on Thursday night, where Saratoga’s Finest Fillies battled it out to raise money for Jake’s Help From Heaven. This playful event is in its third year and with a creative blend of games and fundraising is one of the most entertaining of the season.
Guests arrived and sipped “Sweet Jake” cocktails as fillies and trainers worked the room selling raffle tickets that would double as bets for the upcoming race. Brian Straughter welcomed the enthusiastic crowd and spoke about his son Jake, the inspiration for JHFH whose mission is to support individuals with multiple medical challenges or disabilities. Brian then went on to introduce the evening’s main event and emcee, Natalie Sillery. Natalie pulled post positions for the fillies who this year included Beth Alexander, Johanna Friedman, Kelly Hite, Julie Johnson, Elaine Sillery, Christianne Smith, Heather Straughter, Jenny Witte and Melissa Zieker.
The finest fillies took their positions while Plinko Queen Colleen Carlson prepped the Plinko board. The way the evening worked was the fillies and their trainers sold raffle tickets that guests then placed in a box representing a filly of their choice for the chance to win one of several fabulous prizes. Then the Plinko game determined which filly would advance to the finish line. Sam the Bugler was on hand to begin the festivities and Natalie charmed the crowd with her play by play commentary as the plinko began. Several of the filly’s eager trainers watched as the game progressed including Susan Halstead, Trina Lucas, Jim LaVigne and Traci Jersen. Also spotted taking in the action were Mary Gavin, Lisa Moser, Lisa Gabryshak, Rebecca Beers, Marti Lard and Rick Partyka. Heavy favorite Heather Straughter took a commanding lead in the plinko race and took home the win, followed by Beth Alexander and Julie Johnson for place and show positions.
Raffle tickets were then drawn from the winning fillies box to determine the prize recipients, with lucky Theresa Russell winning two nights at the Crowne Plaza Time Square and the Carlson family who will be enjoying a two night golf trip to the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid. Marti Laird was delighted to take home a night at Saratoga Arms and Kate Jarosh was thrilled to win a stunning print from Lisa Miller’s Foal Project. Event organizers Heather and Brian Straughter were delighted to report the evening raised over $20,000 for Jake’s Help from Heaven.