RUN FOR THE ROSES! Enjoying Derby Day festivities at the Senior Center are (from left) bugler George Chabot, Elaine Chabot, Paula Lucas (kneeling), Kathy Sumner, Joanne Lexth, Angela Mauceri, Muriel Mustone, Bill Sheehan, Tom Sanchez, Susan Tilton (with prop pony), Mary Mullen, Jean Faiella (kneeling),  Frances Loperfido, Helen Garcia, Jean Fitzgerald, Barbara Pottle, Albert Estes, Marilyn Testa, Priscilla Sweetland and Carol Shiner. (Courtesy Photo)


NORTH READING — The Senior Center’s Kentucky Derby Day was held at the Aldersgate Church. This provided more space for the guests and participants in the races. The guests were in fine racing form, wearing their hand crafted derby hats.

Program Coordinator Jackie Quinn set up the hall for this special event. Jackie turned over the microphone to Outreach Coordinator Susan Tilton, who served as the Master of Ceremonies. Susan was also dressed for the occasion; she wore an inflatable race horse outfit and donned homemade jockey silks which bore her favorite number, 13.

Susan explained how she came to pick the horses’ names for this year’s “Just for Fun” derby races. She said, “I started my preparations for the Derby Day Celebration and as I looked through the horses’ names, several of them jumped out at me, as they spoke to the characteristics of the seniors.


MODELING the fashionable fascinators that are infused into the Kentucky Derby tradition at the Derby Day party for seniors are Mary Mullen (left) and Priscilla Sweetland. (Courtesy Photo)

She added, “I usually try to pick horses’ names I can pronounce and announce quickly as the races unfold. For this year’s list, I chose the following names – Endlessly, Stronghold, Forever Young, Just a Touch, Fierceness, Resilience and Epic Ride – because to me they were a perfect fit.” Susan went on to describe the thoughts she had as she chose the names, explaining just how they fit.

“There are no guarantees that we can live Endlessly. However, with Just a Touch of Fierceness, older adults are living better and longer every day. Seniors have a Stronghold on how to live and enjoy feeling Forever Young. When facing difficulties, seniors bounce back because they have Resilience. It can be quite the Epic Ride,” she said.

Susan then introduced George Chabot, who belted out the “First Call” on his bugle to start the races. The afternoon was filled with a series of action-packed races. The final first place winner was Tom Sanchez, who went home with a Horseshoe gift card. There were free door prizes, raffles, and Carol Bourque also went home with a Horseshoe gift card.

Much like last year, many people contributed to the success of the event. We would like to thank the Horseshoe Grille Restaurant for donating the gift cards; the Ponderaia Horse Barn for loaning us the rider’s helmet and crop; Bill Sheehan for running the race board; Sherri Greer for calling the numbers; and George Chabot for his repeat performance as our bugler.