Despite a severe snowstorm along the East Coast, a large crowd attended the Thoroughbred Charities of America's 14th annual gala and auction Dec. 6, raising more than $1.5 million to aid retired Thoroughbreds. The event was held at Candyland Farm near Middletown, Del., and simulcast to Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington.Despite a two-day snowfall that blanketed the region, 350 were in attendance at Candyland Farm and another 150 participated at Cross Gate. The majority of the money was raised through the live auction of seasons to several leading stallions, among them Unbridled's Song, Dynaformer, and Grand Slam.Among the items drawing considerable bidding in the silent auction were a classic 1981 Mercedes Benz, a high-back chair needle-pointed by Allaire du Pont, a Triple Crown travel package, a signed acoustic guitar by country music superstar Toby Keith, and the original script for the Seabiscuit movie, signed by director Gary Ross and author Laura Hillenbrand."The auction was a tremendous success, exceeding last year's total," said Herb Moelis, president and founder of Thoroughbred Charities of America "This is especially gratifying since it underscores the support and dedication to TCA by over 350 participants who overcame all the obstacles of a double-whammy snow blizzard on Friday and Saturday. What is the old adage: "Neither sleet, snow, or cold of night."Seabscuit author Laura Hillenbrand received the Allaire C. du Pont Humanitarian Award, while longtime Sports Illustrated writer Bill Nack received the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Award, a lifetime achievement award for excellence in magazine writing.