NICU Babies Win Big in Another Successful Julep Cup Jaunt

By Nate Hinkel

The jazz trio The Real Thing entertained guests in the lobby prior to this year’s Kentucky Derby.
KTHV-TV, Channel 11 news anchor Craig O'Neill once again kept the crowd entertained as the event's emcee.

KTHV-TV, Channel 11 news anchor Craig O’Neill kept the crowd entertained as the event’s emcee.
Kori Trice and Shelli Jordan donned derby hats to watch the

Kori Trice and Shelli Jordan donned derby hats to watch the “fastest two minutes in sports” to benefit the NICU.

May 3, 2010 | Severe storms throughout the late afternoon and early evening May 1 didn’t keep a few hundred supporters away from the seventh annual Julep Cup Jaunt to raise $25,000 for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ (UAMS) neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Nearly 300 guests watched on the 12th floor of the UAMS Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute on a 12 ft. by 24 ft. theater-style big screen as the thoroughbreds sloshed around a wet and muddy track at Churchill Downs for “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” Sponsored by the UAMS Consortium, the event has become central Arkansas’ premier Kentucky Derby watch party and silent auction.

This year’s Run for the Roses featured an added Arkansas tie-in as Oaklawn Park mainstay jockey Calvin Borel rode Super Saver to victory, crossing the wire ahead of the field in Louisville for the third time in four years.

The new NICU that opened in January 2009 features 58 private baby rooms with special lighting, noise and temperature controls to meet each infant’s individual needs. A family area in the NICU, funded by proceeds from past Julep Cup Jaunt events, has a kitchen, laundry room and additional sleeping space for family members.

Speaking to the packed auditorium, neonatologist Ashley Ross, M.D., said it was the support of the UAMS Consortium that helped make the new NICU so great.

“It’s the additional support we get from people like you and from events like these that makes our new NICU such a special place,” Ross said, while thanking those in attendance.

Silent auction items at the Julep Cup Jaunt included a four-day vacation to Red River, N.M., a Viking grill, a guided duck hunt, autographed sports memorabilia, cosmetic consultation with Suzanne Yee, M.D., an Arkansas Travelers family package, a pet care and boarding package at Canine Country Club, artwork, jewelry and restaurant gift cards, among many others.

The event also featured Derby-themed fare catered by Capers restaurant, with music by jazz trio The Real Thing.

To see more photos of the event click here.