The Pink Stiletto race day is the culmination of years of discussions, talks and attempts to secure a gay and lesbian race day on Sydney’s Mardi Gras calendar.
Australian Jockey Club marketing head Bettina Brown said staff at Royal Randwick are excited about the day, planned for Friday, February 26.
“Given the proximity of our racecourse to the heart of the city, it lent itself to holding an event during the Mardi Gras festival,” Brown told Sydney Star Observer.
“Attracting new visitors to Royal Randwick is important for us, and to be able to host an event that was fresh and provided the opportunity for visitors and locals alike to dress up, drink champagne and enjoy an afternoon of thoroughbred racing was an ideal opportunity to do this.”
Brown said the idea had been floated for a number of years, but had never moved past the discussion stage.
The Pink Stiletto race day will become a key fundraiser for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF) which provides support to people with HIV. Gai Waterhouse has signed on as the event’s patron.
“We’re thrilled that 2010 — the 200th anniversary of racing in Australia — will feature the inaugural Pink Stiletto race day,” Brown said.
“Gai Waterhouse was quick to lend her support to this worthy charity and new racing initiative. The Pink Stiletto was not only a way for Gai to help the AJC to raise funds for BGF, but also an opportunity to open the doors of Royal Randwick and showcase her sport to thousands of people who had never been to the track before.”
Brown said punters can expect “high fashion, some great music, a cocktail bar or two, lots of fabulous people and the air of excitement that all race days have. And perhaps the opportunity to back a winner if you’re lucky”.
“Our entertainment line-up is still being planned but the seven races of the day will provide loads of entertainment. We’re talking to some of Sydney’s favourite DJs to provide some tunes throughout different parts of the venue,” she said.
“And we’re asking the drags to whip off their pumps, jump out of the starter gates and race the last 50 metres of Randwick’s famous straight. It’s bound to be a highlight of the day. Drag queens can contact BGF to sign on for the race.”
BGF CEO Bev Lange said the money raised from Pink Stiletto would be vital to the organisation’s ongoing operations.
“We rely on our fundraising income to deliver our core services to our clients. While our fundraising income has been steady over the last two years, there has been a significant increase in new clients,” she said.
“Right now, BGF is providing a range of services to over 1450 people living with HIV across NSW. In the 2008-09 financial year, 257 new clients registered with BGF — an increase in new clients of almost 20 percent on the previous financial year.
“It is imperative that we raise more money through our fundraising activities so that we can meet the ever-growing need for our services in the future.”
Brown said she hoped the Pink Stiletto race day would become a marquee event on the Royal Randwick racing calendar during the Mardi Gras festival period.
“It will be a fabulous day of fun and fashion, racing and style — and provides the local gay and lesbian community and interstate and international visitors with a new and exciting event,” she said.
“All those attending the day will be supporting the fabulous work done by everyone at the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation who support over 1450 men, women and children in NSW who are living with HIV.”
info: Pink Stiletto is on Friday, February 26 at Royal Randwick Racecourse. Visit www.pinkstiletto.com.au