There are countless traditions at the Kentucky Derby, but one of the most fun for the stargazers among us is the long list of celebrities that show up to the event every year.
This year promises to be no exception.
"Really the 1920s is when the celebrities started flocking to the race," says [Kentucky Derby Museum curator Ronnie] Dreisdt, and here too, [Matt] Winn gets the credit, bringing in the likes of Ginger Rogers and Babe Ruth. From its early years and through today, a dichotomy exists between the race's spectators: the celebrities, millionaires and royalty in the clubhouse, and a more raucous party going on in the infield.
"There's a long history of both types of people and experiences, and it seems like the presence of each adds to the experience of the other," says [author James C.] Nicholson. The infielders catch a glimpse of the rich and famous, and those in the clubhouse get a kick from the revelry going on in the infield.
That dichotomy defines the event, in many ways, as folks from all walks of life can enjoy the race, albeit from much different vantage points. I'd take the raucous party of the infield any day of the week, but it's hard to ignore the appeal and star power of the clubhouse.
So without further ado, who are the celebrities hanging around the Derby this year?
For starters, NBC Sports Network has tweeted several pictures of celebs making their picks before the race (along with one very special guest):
For what it's worth, I'm with Peyton Siva and Scottie Pippen. Let's go, Goldencents!
Via Sherlene Shanklin of WHAS11.com, here is a list of celebrities that have either been confirmed to be attending the Derby or have been seen at pre-race events:
- Warren Moon
- Young Jeezy
- Ken Griffey Jr.
- Julius "Dr. J" Erving
- Emilio Estevez
- Gladys Knight
- Aaron Rodgers
- Bode Miller
- Anthony Davis
- Jennifer Tilly
- Wes Welker
- Robert Griffin III
- Jennifer Hudson
- Shaquille O'Neal
- Tiki Barber
- Ray Lewis
- Master P
Meanwhile, the following celebs have been seen at pre-race parties or galas, according to Larry Birkhead and Dannielynn Birkhead of The Baltimore Sun:
- Kid Rock
- Tom Brady
- Miranda Lambert
- Lance Bass
- Joey Fatone
- Jason Biggs
- Smokey Robinson
And of course, let's not forget about Rick Pitino, who is a partial owner of Goldencents, one of the Derby favorites. Pitino, the excellent college basketball coach who already led Louisville to a national championship this year, will be looking to continue his run of good fortune.
Obviously, there will likely be even more celebrities sipping on mint juleps and filling out their betting slips on Saturday for the biggest spectacle in horse racing. But as you can see above, the event is already brimming with some big names ready to enjoy the party.