The Kentucky Derby has enjoyed a long and storied history of celebrity appeal throughout the years. Celebrities from many different industries including television, film, sports, fashion, business, and American politics attend the Derby each year. Churchill Downs has a special Red Carpet entrance for celebrity attendees and their guests, which is an area very popular for race goers to mingle nearby and see the stars arrive for the races. Celebrities of all types also mark their calendars to party on Kentucky Derby Eve, which puts the spotlight on Louisville the night before the world’s most famous horse race. One of the most popular Derby Eve parties is the Barnstable Brown Gala, held in the historic Highlands neighborhood in Louisville.
In 2007, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attended the the 133rd Run for the Roses and witnessed Street Sense wearing the roses after capturing the Kentucky Derby with jockey Calvin Borel aboard. Eight United States Presidents have also attended the Derby in their lifetime, with Richard Nixon actually attending while he was still in office. Legend has it that Frank James, brother of outlaw Jesse James, was in attendance in 1889!
It’s been a “Who’s Who” over the years as celebrities have made their way to historic Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, which is the grandest race in the “Sport of Kings”! Over the years, we have seen VIP’s and celebrities such as Erin Andrews, Niki Taylor, Michael Jordan, Travis Tritt, Hugh Hefner, Paris Hilton, Julius Erving, Chelsea Clinton, Aaron Rodgers, Cal Ripken, and Jerry Jones enjoying race day, and that’s just the beginning. Those who consider themselves “star gazers” may also catch a glimpse of Ashlee Simpson, Chris Tucker, Eli Manning, Bobby Flay, John Calipari, Rick Pitino, and Eddie Money. The stars are so numerous, it’s impossible to count them all!