Pre-derby parties bring in celebrities for good causes - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Pre-derby parties bring in celebrities for good causes

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Poker party Poker party
Denny Crum Denny Crum
Taste of Derby Taste of Derby
Bobby Flay Bobby Flay
Niki Taylor Niki Taylor

By Katie Bauer - email | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – On the eve of the Kentucky Oaks, there was plenty going on in the Derby City as celebrities and guests started trickling into town. The great news about these parties, while they are a lot of fun, they are also fundraisers for special charities.

Our first stop was at the Louisville Palace for a celebrity poker tournament. This event raised money for Blessings in a Backpack. Former University of Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum played host.

"This is for a great cause and it is just part of the whole derby thing that I love and I haven't missed a derby since I came here in 1971," said Crum.

Next stop was the Mellwood Arts Center for the Taste of Derby, put on by Churchill Downs. This event raises money to directly benefit hunger relief organizations. 16 award winning chefs served up savory dishes. We spotted celebrity chef Bobby Flay and model Niki Taylor- who says she is ready for the races.

"I'm corresponding with NBC Sports, so I did a little hat segment and I did pick out the perfect hat," said Taylor.

Our last stop was Ferdinand's Ball at the Frazier International History Museum.

This event was started to raise awareness and funding for Old Friends, a foundation that rescues retired racehorses from neglect, abuse, and slaughter. Sports Illustrated Swim Suit edition Rookie of the Year Kate Upton hosted the event.

(Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.)