The sellout event was a social fundraiser that benefited the Tracy Noon Rotary Club.
More than 150 people gathered under a colorful tent with the city hall fountain as its centerpiece at 333 Civic Center Plaza.
As the derby got underway, all eyes turned to one of the four large widescreen televisions situated in the corners of the venue. Quite a few onlookers said they were cheering on race favorite, Revolutionary.
Orb — a 6-1 co-favorite with Revolutionary — would win by 2 1/2 lengths over Golden Soul in a sprint through a muddy track at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
Manjit Sidha cheered the results, having picked Orb as the winner.
“I don’t watch the race, but I’ve been to a few derby fundraiser parties,” she said. “I’m a fan now. It’s fun.”
Although the race typically lasts two minutes from start to finish, Mei Ling said she compares the excitement to watching the Olympics.
“It’s fun to watch,” she said while standing next to her husband, outgoing Rotary president, Nelson Hu.
He called the event, “a good way to hold one big fundraiser.”
Event coordinator Kim Scarlata said the event raised more than $13,200 in ticket and auction sales during an afternoon that included a chicken breast lunch and numerous games to gamble fake money until the start of the derby.
“It’s going great,” she said. “It's something we’d like to do inclusive and include the whole city in something fun like this. We’d like to keep doing it. It’s a great fundraiser.”
Kal Waetzig, Noon Rotary president-elect, praised the fundraiser, calling it “fun” and a “great event for the city of Tracy.”
Former city councilor Steve Abercrombie said he liked its “originality.”
“I mean how many crab feeds can you go to,” he said. “It's a beautiful day and great food.”
In the spirit of the derby, many ladies wore large, elegant hats, some topped with colorful flowers.
“I think it’s wonderful to see the ladies all dressed up in their hats,” said Teresa Wickline. “Everybody seems to be having fun.”
Gail Holderbein, who was wearing a bright blue feather hat, said her chapeau once belonged to her mother.
“My mom wore it in my wedding 47 years ago,” she said. “So, this old feathered thing has been in a box, so I thought, ‘so mom let’s see what we can do.’ It’s a fun event. We’ll be back next year and I’ll be bringing back friends.”
The winner of the best hat contest went to Sarah Randrup, while men’s best attire was a tie between City Manager Leon Churchill and local attorney, Guy Burns.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.