The hats are as important as the horses for the annual race at Churchill Downs.
Hollywood has taken over Kentucky. The 2018 Kentucky Derby has attracted a slew of stars to Louisville, Kentucky, for parades, parties, and of course, the annual horse racing event at Churchill Downs. According to the official Kentucky Derby website, more than 150,000 people were expected to attend this year’s festivities, and you can bet a lot of those people are celebrities.
With parties galore — the Barnstable-Brown Gala, the Trifecta Celebrity After Party, and Original Makers Club Oaks Brunch, just to name a few — the mint juleps were flowing before and after the big race. For the Derby itself, it was all about the hats as celebrities tried to outdo their past looks or make a mark with their Derby debut.
Here’s a look at some of the famous faces at the 144th Kentucky Derby.
Actress Victoria Justice posed on the red carpet at the Unbridled Eve Gala held at Galt House Hotel on Friday after teasing fans with an Instagram post with a horse emoji “hint” and a caption that said, “Guess where we’re going?” The former Nickelodeon star turned up at the Derby red carpet with a big black hat with a feather “halo.”
Actor Blair Underwood posted a series of photos to Twitter detailing his first visit to the Kentucky Derby with family and friends. The Quantico star also called out his own hat game and offered up some tags to describe his pre-Derby attire: #jcrewalways #seersucker #perryellis.
For Kentucky Derby day, Underwood went into Frank Sinatra mode with a straw fedora, while his wife, Desiree DaCosta, wore a fabulous fascinator.
Vanderpump Rules star Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright are Kentucky Derby regulars. The Bravo stars were featured at the Pegasus Parade and Celebrity Day meet and greet, and based on their social media feeds, they also made the guest list for the high-profile Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala. Kentucky is also Brittany’s home state, so maybe that’s why her Derby hats are always so on point.
Proud papa Larry Birkhead made his annual appearance at Derby weekend with daughter Dannielynn. The 11-year-old daughter of Birkhead and the late Anna Nicole Smith is the spitting image of her mom. Birkhead posted a photo ahead of their arrival to the Barnstable-Brown Gala which showed off his daughter’s new Junona dress and new braces, and he even teased a trip to the Drybar.
Birkhead later posed with Dannielynn on the Churchill Downs red carpet, where the father-daughter duo boasted matching blue and white outfits.
Another Kentucky Derby regular, Joey Fatone, has gone on record as saying he missed the Derby once and will never miss it again.
“The one time I missed the trip in 18 years, I swore that would never happen again,” Fatone told the Courier-Journal. “I don’t let anything get in the way of getting to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.”
It’s no surprise that Fatone was back, this time with a snazzy jacket and a hat.
Country superstar Travis Tritt also posted several Derby Day teasers to social media. After noting that it was going to be a rainy Derby weekend, Tritt posted to Instagram: “Better start looking for some mudder horses!” Travis later posed with his wife, Theresa Nelson, to wish fans a “Happy Derby Day.”
Happy Derby Day!!!????
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Mira Sorvino, who arrived at the Kentucky Derby with her husband, Christopher Backus, and dad, Paul Sorvino, was looking for betting tips for the muddy track. The actress also revealed that her famous father performed the song “My Old Kentucky Home” ahead of the big race.
And then there was Johnny Weir. The Olympic figure skater-tuned-NBC commentator literally won the Kentucky Derby with his “crown” hat. Weir, who works with designer Kerin Rose Gold to create a Derby-themed hat every year, previously told People that his 2018 hat would have a Triple Crown theme.
Check out the video below for more celebrities who have rocked the Kentucky Derby in the past.
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