Derby Night allows guests to bet on wooden horses
Local horse racing fans will get an early chance to bid on horse races when the Desert Park Exhibition Society holds its Derby Night fundraiser on Saturday night.
The races, however, will be between wooden horses that move according to the throw of dice.
The fundraiser event is being held at the Watermark Beach Resort from 6 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $50 and there will be live entertainment.
Corporations, small businesses and individuals can buy a horse for the event, which includes two dinner tickets, said Carol Youngberg, president of Desert Park Exhibition Society.
“We have pari-mutuel betting on the little wooden horses,” said Youngberg. “We also have music, door prizes and, of course, a silent auction. We have a different menu, different music and we have more horses. And we certainly have many more items at the silent auction.”
The Derby Night is the third of three fundraising events to help fund the first of two horse racing days at Desert Park this year. Race days are June 14 and Aug. 16.
Meanwhile, work is proceeding at Desert Park to prepare for the races.
Provincial funding, betting machines, insurance and other details are falling into place, said Youngberg.
It’s not possible to guarantee in advance how many races there will be, but there will be at least six, she said.
“We’ve got the makings of a really good race card,” Youngberg added.
Upgrades to the facility are also taking place based on an engineer’s report. Work on restoring old bleachers won’t be completed for the first race day, but Youngberg said she hopes it can be completed in time for the second.
Last year some of the old bleachers were considered unsafe and portable bleachers were brought in for the event.
In other preparations, the grounds are being prepared. There’s was a big grounds preparation work event on the May 31 and June 1 weekend with people bringing in weed eaters, lawnmowers, rakes and other equipment to clean up the grounds, Youngberg said.
This year some of the red tape will be easier as the society repeats what was done last year. New provincial liquor laws also mean that the license can be expanded beyond the beer garden to the building. There’s also a new food vendor and a new layout, Youngberg added.
Volunteers are still needed for a number of roles, Youngberg said.
Those wishing to volunteer are asked to contact Carol Youngberg at 250-485-2238 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets for Derby Night are available at the Osoyoos Times and the Watermark Beach Resort.