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Friday, July 22, 2005 | El Roblar and Becruz raced and won at the Del Mar Race Track’s Opening Day on Wednesday, but they weren’t the only winners. A capacity crowd of more than 40,000 people filled the track’s seats. Judging by their smiles, all had a winning time.

The day started with the traditional hat contest. Phyliss Parrish, of La Jolla, won the “Most Glamorous Hat” category with a black-and-white Jared Hollingsworth chapeaux. First-place winner Heidi Reinicke, also won the “Best Fresh Flower” prize.

The gates opened, and the race was on as guests jockeyed for prime table viewing positions. Up in the Turf Club, there is always one table that is set by tradition. Marge Durante, comedian Jimmy Durante’s red-headed widow, has her table front and center right on the finish line. This year, as always, she was joined by Lou Beard from Oklahoma and Virginia Monday from La Jolla.

Turf Club tables were swiftly assigned by Jimmy, the track’s famed maitre d’ and the man to know. Jimmy is rather like a conductor of a symphony. He makes your perfect viewing position happen musically and magically.

Among the glamorous hat crowd there were “Cheers” actor John Ratzenberger and KUSI’s team – Dan Plante, Andrea Naversen and Sandra Maas. Also there were Lynelle Berkey in a sunny yellow suit and hat, Mona Steen in silvery satin, Stephan McKellar, Eric Skoldberg, Craig Grosvenor, Courtney Spencer in a turquoise hat, Shanly Gardner-Smith wearing a fabulously feathered chapeaux along with friend Lonna Wais, and hairdresser to the elite, Alex Chase, was there with his family.

Looking sharp and stylish were James Quinones from KGTV Channel 10, Dr. Robert McPherson, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President and General Manager Joe Harper, Valerie and Lenny Recabaren, fashion commentator Leonard Simpson, Karina Lion and Thom Tullis of TravelMed, and Peter Caruso, the real estate agent to celebrities such as Barbra Streisand. Also there were Diane and Jim Bashor, and Susan Clifton. Susan, took a break from producing a string of charity events including a recent St. Germaine Gala to fight child abuse. She wouldn’t miss Opening Day at the track for anything.

More people enjoying winning cheers included Emma Zuckerman, Sook Hansen, Karen and Donald Cohn (Donald’s the genius behind the DataQuick real estate system), and the Jackson’s of the Kendall Jackson winery. Meanwhile, back at the Turf Club were Daran and Ray Grimm, Darah Grimm, Danica and Edoardo Cuilli, Linda and Don Swortwood, Brynn Morales and Robert Fudge, Denise and Bertrand Hug of the famous after-track restaurant favorite, Mille Fleurs, and Kathryn Murphy with Lance Peto.

Quite a switch for Kathryn and Lance.

Last week, Kathryn Murphy and Lance Peto threw a seaside Balinese-themed party in La Jolla. Hats weren’t the theme but sarongs were. Guests wrapped up in beautiful cloths mingled with each other amidst colorfully fringed umbrellas, and tables laden with hand-carved masks and a Balinese feast.

Among those going to “Bali” for the night were Melinda Merryweather, Melissa and Scott Murfey, Chip Murphy, Steve and Sandy Worcester, Marilyn Wise, Nancy and Michael Ullman (Michael runs the La Valencia Hotel) Bobbe Stern, Bill Thompson, attorney Susanne Stanford and her fiancé Bob Schroeder, Edwina and Mark Thoeny, and Purple Heart winner Scott Johnston. Also there were Sally and Dan Irwin, Deanna and Doug Spurr, Karen and Kit Sickels, Holly and Bob Robinson, Patty and Dick Russell, and the mighty Murphy girls, Kathryn’s daughters’ Erinn, Meghan and Kaitlin. Mary and Fred Smith, were also there, almost all day in fact. Mary did the magnificent floral bouquets of exotic and colorful blooms.

Others enjoying the Balinese feast and fun were Jeanette Amen, Pam and Steve Avoyer, Scottie and Steven Brown, John Bucher, Sarah and David Burton, Nora and Philip Feune de Colombi, Gail Forbes, Kent Freundt, Anne and John Gilchrist, artist Lisa Hill with her husband Robby, Jan and Dave Irwin, Kris Jeffery, Susan and Craig McClellan, Laura McDonald and Chris Wyer, Lori Ireland with Martin Mosier, Debbie and Chris Neils, Kris and Peter Platt and Margo Rogers.

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Margo Schwab, an alumna of the University of San Diego’s graduate business school, reports on social/charity events, celebrities, restaurants and from time to time breaking scoops. You can read more at her Web site,

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