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By Brian Park
For a few hours, the Regency Theatre in downtown San Juan Capistrano was transformed into Louisville, Kentucky for the San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition’s fourth annual Kentucky Derby Hat Party on Saturday, May 3.
In true derby tradition, guests arrived wearing their most colorful and ornate derby hats and sipped on mint juleps at Rick’s Café, inside the theater. Mayor Sam Allevato, SJEC Board President John Berney and Whim Home co-founder Daviell Maldonado served as judges for a hat contest.
Veronica Moreno of Valley Village was awarded first place in the judges’ category for the second year in a row. Ten-year-old Alexis Golin of Calabasas and Judy Redwood of Dana Point finished second and third, respectively. Golin also won the popular vote.
After the contest, guests gathered to watch the 140th Kentucky Derby on the big screen. The race was won by California Chrome, ridden by jockey Victor Espinoza. California Chrome, from Los Alamitos, is the first California-bred horse to win the race since 1962.
SJCEC’s next event, Two Stepping Under the Stars, will take place Saturday, July 12 at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan. The free event features live music, dancing, casino games, a silent auction and food and drink for purchase. For more information, visit www.sjcec.org.