To thoroughbred racing devotees, it's the America's Cup, the Super Bowl and the World Series in one big package. Tied with a bow. Everyone's talking about the Breeders' Cup and its $10-million purse. Oak Tree Racing Assn. hosts the third presentation of racing's greatest day Saturday at Santa Anita.
There's a plethora of pizazz starting this weekend when the Earl and Countess of March arrive from England accompanied by several directors of Goodwood Race Course and a half-hundred members of the Goodwood Racegoers Club. The Earl and Countess (house guests of the Harold C. Ramsers) will present the trophy to the winning owner in the $150,000 Goodwood Handicap today. British Consul Gen. Donald Ballentyne and his wife, Elisabeth, will attend. Oak Tree president Clement L. Hirsch and his wife, Lynn, will host a table including Chancellor and Mrs. Jack Peltason of UC Irvine, the James Roosevelts and Robert P. Strub, president of Santa Anita, and his wife, Betty.
Then the private parties hosted by Southern California horsemen begin. And the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Assn. of New York will host a black-tie dinner Wednesday at the California Club.
Thursday evening celebrities and others will fantasize a Rio "Carnivale" Mardi Gras-style. The Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia will be transformed into a gala tented street scene for 1,200 to dine on shrimp, oysters, roast suckling pig and sand dabs. It calls for Brazilian jazz, and that means fun.
The social beat culminates Friday evening with the gala Breeders' Club Ball, hosted by Breeders' Cup Limited, and its chairman John R. Gaines, the man who fostered the concept of the cup. He'll be here from his Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Ky., with the Breeders' Cup official family including president and Mrs. C. Gibson Downing, vice president and Mrs. Brownell Combs II, treasurer and Mrs. Brereton C. Jones, and executive director and Mrs. D. G. Van Clief Jr.--all from Kentucky--and secretary and Mrs. Charles Taylor of Ontario, Canada.
Liza Minnelli, in what's to be an "elaborate show" (everyone knows she's an elaborate person) will highlight the $400-a-ticket affair on the Universal Studios Sound Stage. It's the feverish prelude to The Day, when the gates to Santa Anita open at 7:30 a.m.
Expect stars of every magnitude for the gala. Former Atty. Gen. William French Smith and his wife, Jean (the next day they'll be in the ultra exclusive coterie in the Directors Room for the races); State Sen. Kenneth Maddy and his wife, Norma, will come from Fresno. Fred and Wanda Hooper, whose Precisionist is a favorite in the $3-million Breeders' Cup Classic, will party. So will Lou and Patrice Wolfson, Floridians who will have their flamingo, black and white silks carried by two Breeders' Cup Day starters, Outstandingly and Persevered.
Ogden Mills (Dinny) Phipps, chairman of the Jockey Club, will be here from New York. His father, Ogden Phipps, will have his famed black and cherry silks carried by the undefeated Polish Navy, winner last weekend of the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. Also at the party will be Bert and Diane Firestone of Catoctin Farm in Waterford, Va. Mrs. Frances Genter of Minneapolis and Florida will be represented in Breeders' Cup competition by Smile and Tappiano. Minnesotan Wheelock Whitney, who races thoroughbreds in partnership with Oak Tree vice president Louis Rowan, will join festivities.
Real show-biz types like Johnny Carson, Andy Williams, Mike Douglas, Rod Steiger, Richard Pryor and Mickey Rooney will be on the scene.
For the races, dignitaries from around the world will be seated in the Private Turf Club: the Ted Bassetts (he's president of the Thoroughbred Racing Assns., Inc.), the John Bells, the Nelson Bunker Hunts, Col. and Mrs. Cloyce Tippett, and the William Haggin Perrys of Virginia. More on hand, Penny Chenery, who campaigned Secretariat, and her successor as president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Assn., Shirley Taylor.
Western leaders include Breeders' Cup Selection Committee member Frank (Jimmy) Kilroe and his wife, Martha; John Mabee, president of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, and his wife, Betty; Del Mar's vice president and general manager Joseph W. Harper, member of the DeMille family, and his wife, Barbara; and Ray Rogers, general manager of Santa Anita Race Track, and his wife, Dorothy.
Dancing Brave, who in his last start won the coveted Arc de Triomphe in Paris (he's owned by Prince Khaled Abdullah), will be in the spotlight on the track. In exclusive view spots will be Greer Garson Fogelson, flying from Dallas to cheer Truce Maker; Beverly Hills' Earl Scheib, rooting for Fran's Valentine; Dolly Green, watching her $300,000 purchase, Brave Raj, in action (the filly won the Del Mar Debutante); publisher Peter Brant; Allen Paulson; D. Wayne Lukas; Barry Beal and Bob French (both from Midland, Tex.); and Gene Klein (San Diego), who also will start Lady's Secret, whom some horsemen feel will be the 1986 Horse of the Year.
Straight from the party horse's mouth.
Les and Carolbeth Korn hosted the directors of the John Douglas French Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease this week at the Regency Club at a party honoring Sen. Pete and Gail Wilson, new board members. Invitees: Peter and Mardee de Wetter, Walter and Annette Beran, former Gov. Edmund and Bernice Brown, Catherine and Arthur Chester, George and Benetta Fenimore, Dickinson and Gabriele Ross, Thomas and Judy Ennis, Olga Erteszek, Mike and Linda Curb, Dick and Eileen Eamer, and Michael and Jacqui Tenzer. Some came black-tie, en route to the Saint John Medical Center gala.
A good combo for granting wishes: Neiman-Marcus and the Starlight Foundation. Thursday, in the couture salon of the Beverly Hills store, a crowd will view fur fashions by Andre and Lisa Bisang of Zurich, Switzerland, over champagne. It's a way to tout the foundation's fourth annual Valentine Gala on Feb. 14. That will be a musical tribute to Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager at the Bonaventure with actress Emma Samms as celebrity chairman, and Tisha Fein producing. Among ladies at Neiman's will be Toni Webb, Tova Borgnine, Jill Ireland, Catherine Hickland, Margie Petersen, Carol Smith, Frances Franklin, Effie Gaido, Brigitte Martens, Sachi Irwin, Beverly Petal, Jacque Heebner and Iris Magidoff.
And the Thalians Presidents Club glimpses the couture and pret-a-porter collection of spring 1987 fashions of Parisian designer Pierre Le Prince on Monday in the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire. It marks Le Prince's second visit here, his first a private one at the residence of Gene Kelly and his daughter, Bridget, an art and fashion student at the American School in Paris. Co-chairs of the showing are Presidents Club directors Ruta Lee, Contessa Cohn and Gloria Luchenbill. Born in Haiti, the 31-year-old Le Prince is a direct descendant of Toussaint L'Ouverture.
All the women of Sonance lunched at the Turf Club at Santa Anita to kick off their upcoming Nov. 21 gala at the Beverly Hilton, benefiting the House Ear Institute's Center for Deaf Children. Then benefit co-chairmen Helene Irvin and Penelope von Kalinowski (she chaired alone last year) were back at the Regency Club, making more plans over lunch.
The idea is an evening that will be "the best of the '60s." Ambassador and Mrs. John Gavin will be honorary chairmen. Angie Dickinson will be celebrity chairman; Alexander L. Capello is corporate chair. If you imagine a James Bond "Casino Royale" featuring the Golddiggers, a show produced by Jonathan Lucas featuring Bobby Vee, Freda Payne, the Shirelles, Beatlemania by Rain and the comedy of Bill Dana, you're close to reality.
Committee members include Sonance president Cheryl Wengrow, Linda Blackburn, Carolyn Stockwell, Nancy Furlotti, Sherry Lombardi, Ollie Lynn, Carol Murphy, Nina O'Hern, Susan Smith, Van Venneri, Elizabeth Levitt, Valerie Mendez, Sally Pollet and Sharon Hill.
Spinsters are quite attractive to bachelors. Nearly 100 attended Los Angeles Spinsters' first social engagement at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. In the spotlight was Melina Eversole, president, and ball chairman Patricia MacLaren, and, of course, the new executive board members: Teresa Hoffman, Christi Kinkle, Avery Bayle, Nancy Fellows, Loretta Seyer, Patricia Dayton, Deborah Powell, Pamela Kerns, Helene Heglund, Letitia Quinn, Grace Bruns, Davon Anderson, Sonya Ledergerber and Nancy Townsend. Now the group pivots to its new member brunch in November and its Christmas Dansant on Dec. 19 at the Valley Hunt Club.
We hear that Joe Coloumbe (the real Trader Joe) is to be honored when the California Wine Patrons board of directors hosts its 10th annual Bacchus Banquet Nov. 5 at the California Club. The California Museum of Science and Industry support group is planning a black-tie dinner and dancing.
Two local charities--Cystic Fibrosis and the John Wayne Cancer Clinic--will reap proceeds in November when French designer Pierre Cardin flies in from Paris to present his fall holiday couture collection. The CF invitational gala dinner dance hosted by the Broadway is Nov. 17 at the Broadway Beverly Center. Cardin's fashion show charity brunch for the Wayne Clinic will be Nov. 19 at the new South Coast Plaza Broadway (opening Friday) and is headed by four co-chairmen: Barbara Harris, Melinda Wayne Munoz, Florence Tande and Maureen Womack. Cardin's enterprises, such as Maxim's restaurants and hotels from Palm Springs to Peking, have made him special even beyond his important haute couture.
OFFICIAL: Tuesday the Department of the Interior and Secretary Donald Paul Hodel celebrate the centennial of the Statue of Liberty with a brief ceremony at 10 a.m. and a reception. The evening before, at the Waldorf-Astoria Grand Ballroom, the Ellis Island Medals of Honor Awards Dinner will fete Lee Iacocca and William May, who have championed the restoration of the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island. His Eminence John Cardinal O'Connor, archbishop of New York, will be honored also. Bob Hope will be master of ceremonies.
Then Liberty's Centennial Gala is the all-star finale to the restoration campaign. It's Tuesday, the 100th anniversary, at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Peggy and Lee Iacocca and Claudia and Nelson Peltz are co-chairmen. Starring will be Charles Aznavour, Placido Domingo, Julio Iglesias, Zubin Mehta, Sherrill Milnes, the New York Philharmonic and the Crane Centennial Chorus. Tony Randall is master of ceremonies.
Liberty commissioners from the Southland will be in attendance: Suzanne Marx, Lady Dodge, Virginia Braun, Glen Holden and James Galbraith.
Los Angeles artist Sheila Elias has been invited to include a painting in the upcoming exhibition, "Liberty," at the Louvre in Paris. The exhibit will commemorate the celebration of the Centennial of the Statue of Liberty organized by the Official Franco-American Committee. Her "Two French Girls," mixed-media on canvas, will be shown there from Tuesday through Jan. 5.