Recognizing the track record of African-Americans in racing

SYLVIA BADGER

February 07, 1993|By SYLVIA BADGER

Inez Chappell is a woman of many interests, but she's always been fond of horse racing. She even found time to visit the track during the 20 years she worked as a manicurist "on the avenue" -- North Avenue, that is -- where she says she filed the nails of celebs Nat "King" Cole, Joe Lewis and Muhammad Ali.

Chappell no longer gives manicures, but her interest in thoroughbred racing continues as president of African-Americans in Horse Racing.

The group's annual dinner to honor African-Americans for their contributions to horse racing is scheduled for Feb. 25 at Pimlico. It will recognize the contributions of Oliver S. Edwards, a leading trainer at Calder Race Course in Florida, and Wayne Barnett, a leading jockey at Charlestown, W.Va.

Guests pay a $5 entrance fee, which Chappell donates to Morgan State University for African-American scholarships. Joe De Francis, Maryland racing king, donates the use of the Sports Palace and pays for the dinners.

Chappell tells me she met President Clinton's mother, Virginia Kelly, when the first mom visited Laurel Race Course after the inauguration. She spotted Kelly and De Francis and hopped on the elevator with them to get Kelly's autograph.

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Local director-choreographer Todd Pearthree, whose production "Into the Woods" opened last weekend at the Spotlighters Theatre, isn't the only talented artist in his family.

His sister, Pippa, is in rehearsals at Center Stage, where she plays the older sister in a contemporary comedy, "Escape From Happiness." The show, which is about the ultimate dysfunctional family, will run Feb. 12 through March 14.

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For six years, Betsy and George Sherman have returned to their hometown, Chicago, to celebrate Betsy's birthday at their favorite restaurant, Carlos.

Now, as co-chair of the second annual Great Chef's Dinner, Betsy is bringing Carlos proprietors Carlos and Debbie Nieto and two of the restaurant's chefs, Don Yamauchi and Celeste Zeccola, to Baltimore for a March 2 fund-raiser for the Child Abuse Prevention Center.

Brass Elephant owners Jack Elsby, Tom McDonald and chef Randy Stahl will again act as hosts of this year's annual event and will work with the award-winning culinary team from Carlos.

B. J. Cowie, Betsy's co-chair, informs us that the $150 tickets are selling quickly. Call (410) 576-2414 for reservations. Bon appetit!

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Clarisse Mechanic is chairing the Advertising and Professional Club of Baltimore's Civic Award Luncheon on Tuesday. This year's honoree is Nelson J. Sabatini, Maryland Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene. If you're interested in attending the luncheon at the Omni Hotel, call the Ad Club, (410) 750-2974, for tickets, which are $25.

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When's the last time you paid a visit to the Woman's Exchange on Charles Street? This delightful establishment, which is 110 years old, is open for breakfast and lunch five days a week.

Its board of managers has decided to bring back daily old-fashioned specials like creamed chipped beef, fricassee chicken and cod fish cakes with tomato gravy.

After you've eaten, take a look at the lovely handmade baby clothes, quilts and tablecloths in the shop. Call (410) 685-4388.

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Around town: The caterers at last week's Casino Ball were certainly innovative, and not only with the food. Maria and Barry Fleischmann, owners of Innovative Gourmet, dressed their staff in "Alice in Wonderland" costumes and had food served from trays that looked like playing cards, checkers and backgammon boards.

The economy might be bad, but Alex. Brown & Sons stockbrokers didn't hesitate to give to charity. The firm received the first annual Chairman's Award from the United Way of Central Maryland for raising $587,965, a 121-percent increase over last year.

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