General & All Other Sports

Kentucky Derby Horse Racing Spectacular and Celebrity attendees (5/07)

One wild weekend, NFL players mingle with Hollywood celebrities at Playboy and Stuff magazine parties, America’s wealthy fly in on their G5’s for high priced charity dinners, all leading up to a one day world watching sporting event…no it’s not the Super Bowl, it’s the Kentucky Derby!

Growing up in New York I had no idea just how popular the Kentucky Derby was. Now having attended my second derby in a row, I sort of know my way around. So you want to do the Derby weekend VIP style. You fly in on your private plane on Thursday afternoon like Michael Jordan and his running buddy Charles Oakley do. Then you catch a ride to the Galt House Hotel where Jordan, Michael Strahan, Gene Simmons, Joey Fatone, well you get the picture, everyone stays here. Prices start around $600 a night for Derby weekend. A quick change and a shower and you are off 4th St.. The entire street is closed to cars. One big block party, music blasting, motorcycle stunt show, then head into one of the surrounded by 5 or 6 nightclubs and restaurants.

Friday morning everyone shakes off their hangover and heads to the track for a day of races called The Oaks. That night the Charity parties kick in. The Mint Jubilee, $500 a ticket, raises money for injured jockeys. So of course all the current jockeys riding in tomorrows Derby are there and Kentucky’s many  beauty pageant queens, along with John Elway, DB Woodside (President Palmer on 24)  Kevin Sorbo of Hercules fame, all mingle and pose for photos, for a very good cause. This year they auctioned off Barbaro’s saddle for $225,000. Then it is on to the late night parties, first stop Playboy. $500 will get you a ticket. Where Jags. QB Byron Leftwich begs me to take a photo of him with his hero John Elway, ”I wear number seven because of John” he gushes. Tom Brady looking as much like a handsome Hollywood Star as an NFL QB chats by the back door with Kevin Sorbo. As a frustrated Jets fan it is still hard to hate Brady, he is friendly, warm, and a Yankees fan to boot, tells me he lives in NY in the off season. Playboy bunnies in full bunny outfit work the room posing for photos with all who want a souvenir shot. And everyone is congratulating Warren Moon on his entry to the Hall Of Fame. Then it is off to the Stuff Magazine party, $500 will get you in the door where Michael Strahan, John Salley, Britney Murphy and even Kevin Federline (just have to be famous not talented to get VIP treatment) party to very loud music with lots of very beautiful girls, more 10’s than at the playboy party. Then it’s off to the late late night party at Felt Nightclub, hosted by Nick Lechey and girlfriend Vanessa Minnillo. Kid Rock, Joey Fatone and  Apolo Ono had their Dancing With the Stars partners in tow. Again loud and very Hip, was still rocking when I left at 3AM.

A few hours sleep and I am at the track for Derby day with DB Woodside and Kevin Sorbo, where we are escorted to a huge luxury suite, our ticket says $587, if you can get one, might cost you triple that. The suite has 20 tables, 200 people, huge buffet, all the mint juleps you can handle, several betting window with no line, and an outdoor balcony that looks over the finish line. Some big wig invites Kevin Sorbo to visit the Jockeys in their locker room, so I tag along. We run into Peyton, Eli, and Archie Manning along the way. Everyone comes out for Derby.

That night there is another black tie event, The Grand Gala, Warrick Dunn, Vince Young, Alan Houston, all smoke cigars and watch the De La Hoya/Meriweather boxing match from Vegas in a special cigar lounge off the ballroom. While Michael Jordan hopped on his G5 and actually attended the fight. Like I said the Kentucky Derby rocks.