Ferdinand’s Ball Gala to Kick Off Derby Party Season on April 30 at Muhammad Ali Center

(April 13, 2015)...


LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (April 13, 2015) — Derby-goers looking for the hottest parties leading up to the Run for the Roses should consider the sixth annual Ferdinand’s Ball gala, which kicks off the Derby party season on Thursday, April 30. What differentiates this event from others is that most of the proceeds go primarily toward the horses themselves; Ferdinand’s Ball serves as a fundraiser for Old Friends Equine Retirement Facility. For the first time, this year a small portion of funds raised will also go to the Muhammad Ali Center, which is a proud partner for this year’s gala that showcases sporting “greats” and highlights a compassionate cause.

The Ali Center in downtown Louisville is a multicultural center with an award-winning museum experience that is dedicated to the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali. Old Friends is a nonprofit Georgetown, Ky., facility that rescues retired racehorses from neglect, abuse and slaughter, offering them a peaceful final chapter to their lives while educating the public about their remarkable stories.

Complete with red carpet, an exclusive VIP gourmet dinner with celebrities, community leaders, and select media, this year’s event also includes a silent auction, an open bar provided by Red Stripe, Guinness Blonde American Lager, Chateau La Paws wine, Ketel One vodka and Bulleit Bourbon, as well as live entertainment by the Louisville-based, all-female folk trio, the Southern Sirens. VIP tickets also include access to the After Party —“Party for the People”— which begins at 9 p.m. and includes an open bar, dessert by Spotz Gelato, entertainment/dancing by DJ Q, the “strolling magic” of nationally recognized magician Richard Darshwood, photos with Magnolia Photo Booth and more. After Party tickets are also sold separately on the Ferdinand’s Ball website, Event sponsors include nFocus magazine, Pure Romance, Xpressbet and The Event Co., which will infuse the Ali Center with the Derby spirit through “stable chic” décor.

Ferdinand’s Ball was founded by sisters and community volunteers Kim Boyle and Aimee Boyle Wulfeck, in honor of Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby Winner and 1987 Horse of the Year. After making millions in the races, Ferdinand was sent to stud in Japan and, following his stud career, ended up in a slaughterhouse, which spurred an international outcry.

Ferdinand’s Ball draws 600 guests and garners support from celebrities, notable sports figures and local legislators as well as local and national news media. Past hosts have included Peyton Siva, point guard for the 2013 University of Louisville championship team, and Hollywood’s Maria Menounos, Kate Upton and Brandi Glanville. This year, celebrities and special guests will include recording artists, actors, locally and nationally recognized NBA and former NCAA basketball players, along with other professional athletes, Derby and Oaks-winning jockeys and horse owners, and local and national sports media personalities.

More details will be announced soon!

A limited number of tickets will be sold for the exclusive VIP dinner hour with full access to the After Party at a cost of $500. Individual tickets for the “Party for the People” are only $150. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit

Ferdinand’s Ball tickets are also offered as part of an elite Prime Sport Derby package,

About Ferdinand’s Ball:

Ferdinand’s Ball is an annual fundraiser created in honor of Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner sent to slaughter in Japan after making millions while racing and becoming horse of the year. This elegant red carpet gala held in Ferdinand’s honor raises awareness and funds so that legacies like Ferdinand can retire in peace and with dignity on a beautiful farm in Georgetown, Ky. Ferdinand’s Ball’s mission is to prevent horses from facing a similar fate and giving them the second chance that Ferdinand never had. This Derby weekend kick-off event was voted by Leo Weekly’s readers as one of Louisville’s best nonprofits in 2012, and the Courier-Journal dubbed it “unpretentiously elegant.” It is the only Derby event that’s all about the horses! For more, visit

About Old Friends Equine Retirement Facility:

Located on a 52-acre farm in Georgetown, Ky., Old Friends Equine Retirement Facility retires thoroughbreds whose racing and breeding careers have come to an end, giving them a chance that Ferdinand never had. Old Friends has brought numerous horses home from Japan, at a cost of at least $65,000 each time. Currently, more than100 legendary horses roam comfortably at Old Friends, and more than 20,000 visitors a year get to meet and interact with them, while learning the stories of their wins, their neglect, abuse and near-death experiences, and miraculous rescues. For more information about Old Friends, please visit

About the Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the six core principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, gender equity, and global citizenship. Its newest initiative, Generation Ali, fosters a new generation of leaders to contribute positively to their communities and to change the world for the better. The Center’s headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit


Jeanie Kahnke
Senior Director of Public Relations and External Affairs