Community, fun fill pre-derby event

Japa Buckner, left, and Roosevelt Jones sat at the jockey table before races began during the Pre-Derby Extravaganza April 18. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

A few weeks before the Kentucky Derby, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry holds its own day of racing — stick horses, not thoroughbreds — complete with colorful hats, betting and fellowship.

The Pre-Derby Extravaganza, held April 18 this year, has been around for at least 15 years, said OMM executive director M. Annette Mandley-Turner.

Stephanie Williams opted for a pink and black feathered fascinator for the Pre-Derby Extravaganza April 18 at the Catholic Enrichment Center. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

“The purpose of this event is to bring together the community,” Mandley-Turner said. “And to have a good time.”

The festivities were held at the Catholic Enrichment Center, 3146 West Broadway, and featured hat contests, three stick horse races, betting and lunch. 

Jazzmin Golden, Presentation Academy’s director of admissions, won the first race, edging ahead of Father William Hammer, pastor of St. William and St. Margaret Mary churches, and Johnny Stamps of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

The contenders of race one — from left, Johnny Stamps of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Father William Hammer, pastor of St. William Church, and Jazzmin Golden, director of admissions for Presentation Academy — readied themselves for a stick horse race. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

“This is my first time here, I’ve never been to the Catholic Enrichment Center before,” Golden said. “I’m fairly new to the Catholic faith. But I’m meeting new people, having fun. It’s a good opportunity to mix and mingle with other Black Catholics.” 

Serving as the event’s emcee, Adriene Taylor-Mitchell said the extravaganza usually sells out.

The Pre-Derby Extravaganza, held annually by the Office of Multicultural Ministry, offered betting on three stick horse races held in the afternoon. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

“I think it’s great for the senior citizens,” she said. “You know they aren’t going to the race track, and it’s early enough in the day for them. It’s just great.”

Mandley-Turner said she estimates about 65% of attendees are Catholic and most everyone attends area churches.

Pat Williams donned a sparkling silver cowboy hat to match her gold and silver outfit. The New Zion Baptist Church member said she was invited to attend by one of her friends and that it had been a few years since she’d attended.

Liz Foster, a member of Greater Galilee Church, matched her black and gold Derby hat to her gold outfit for the Pre-Derby Extravaganza April 18 at the Catholic Enrichment Center. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

“I’m here just having fun,” she said, smiling. 

The 149th running of the Kentucky Derby will be May 6 at Churchill Downs. This year, the Kentucky Derby Festival will include Thunder Over Louisville April 22, the Pegasus Parade April 30 and the Steamboat Race May 1.

Fashionable hats were out in full force during the Office of Multicultural Ministry’s Pre-Derby Extravangza held April 18 at the Catholic Enrichment Center. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)
Kayla Bennett
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Kayla Bennett
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