WHILE Cavonnier is one of the favorites running in the Preakness race tomorrow, last night's favorite at the Triple Crown Ball was the Village People's rendition of "YMCA."
The ball is certainly the glitziest party of all the Preakness Week festivities.
Last night's affair attracted nearly 570 guests, in their best party wear, clapping their hands to the music at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel.
Guests marveled as they walked into the ballroom under arches of black-eyed Susans. Bright and colorful Maryland flags were suspended from the walls. Tables were covered in black and canary yellow cloths with centerpieces made of candelabra and yellow roses.
It looked so pretty that it's difficult to believe the decorators couldn't begin working on the room until 5: 30 p.m. yesterday. With the help of hotel staffers and J.J. Cummings Floral Co., Greg Baronowski and his decorators from IndiVisual transformed the ballroom. Co-chair of this year's ball Karin DeFrancis, looked svelte in a satin, taupe-colored fitted gown with a train, while her Magic Me co-chair, Cecilia Bell, chose a black sheath with a black-and-white, zebra-patterned, sequined jacket. Others I saw at the party were Michael Laskey, Inphomation founder; trainer John DiNatale; Henry and Dot Rosenberg, who served on the benefit committee; Barry Scher of Giant Foods; president of the Maryland Senate Mike Miller and his wife, Patty; Maryland horse trainers Bill Boniface and his wife, Joan; and King Leatherbury and his wife, Linda. The Maryland Racing Commission was well-represented by members Dr. Ernie Colvin, Dr. Allan Levey, Carol McGowan, Frank Hopkins and Paige Davis.
Guests at one table chatted with Maryland's first couple, Gov. Parris Glendening and his wife, Frances, honorary chairwoman of the ball. Ms. Glendening looked quite stylish with hair done in a bob and her long, black, sequined dress. Those who had the gov's ear all evening were the Millers, Dr. Levey, State Comptroller Louis Goldstein and his daughter Louisa; and Mae DeFrancis, mom to Joe and Karin.
Others at the ball were Don and Bootsie Levinson, Maryland horse owners; C. Oliver Goldsmith of Longwood Farm; Gloria Cinquegrani, director of special events for Pimlico Racetrack, and Dixie and Jim Hindman. He founded Jiffy Lube but left that business to establish Owings Mills-based Youth Services International Inc.
A check for $55,000 was presented to Ward Classen, COB of Magic Me, this year's beneficiary. It is an organization that has bridged the gap between the old and the young with programs that promote interaction between the two groups.
The Preakness social calendar is quite full, with last night's Triple Crown Ball and the annual cocktail party given by Maryland horse breeders Mary Jo and John Pons at their Country Life Farm. The annual Alibi Breakfast, held at the track this morning, is emceed by Jim McKay. It's attended by track officials, horse owners, trainers and jockeys.
Tonight, the Maryland Jockey Club has invited out-of-town visitors to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for dinner and show. Some will see the Orioles game. Track owner Joe DeFrancis and D. Wayne Lukas, one of the nation's top trainers, will be throwing out the first ball.
Tomorrow there will be parties in the Preakness Village tents, throughout the club house, in the infield and in the boxes. There are no public parties tomorrow night, just a few very private ones for visiting VIPS.
Pub Date: 5/17/96