LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For singer and actor Nick Lachey, the Kentucky Derby proved to be an opportunity to root on 12-1 shot Shackleford. For other celebrities, the race provided a chance to be seen at the Sport of Kings on Saturday.
Lachey, a Kentucky native who grew up in Ohio, and his fiancée, Vanessa Minnillo, were among a trove of actors, musicians and reality television stars to walk the red carpet outside Churchill Downs. The 137th Run for the Roses drew famous actors and some infamous reality television stars, as well as professional athletes, both active and retired.
Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who played District Attorney Arthur Branch on Law & Order, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, supermodel Marisa Miller, actors Bill Paxton, Chris Meloni of Law & Order: SVU, and Ken Davitian, known as the producer, Azamat Bagatov, in the 2006 comedy “Borat,” also turned up, posing for photographers before heading in a couple of hours before the Run for the Roses.
Davitian laughed about his chance at betting on a big winner.
“I’m here for charity,” Davitian said. “I’m ready to lose.”
Omar Miller, who plays Walter Simmons on "CSI: Miami," took the opportunity to raise money for a charity.
“We raised a bunch of money for breast cancer awareness last night, because this is crazy,” Miller said Saturday afternoon.
Reality television stars Kate Gosselin, who starred in a show with her eight children and made an appearance on the show "Dancing with the Stars," and Vicki Gunvalson from "The Real Housewives of Orange County" were also in attendance.
For some, such as former University of Louisville defensive lineman Amobi Okoye, the Kentucky Derby proved a good excuse for a homecoming.
Okoye, who plays for the NFL’s Houston Texans and was attending his fifth Derby, attended to root long shots Watch Me Go and Master of the Hounds.
“I haven’t missed it since college,” Okoye said.
Former University of Kentucky point guard John Wall, now of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, who ran fourth-place finisher Halory Hunter in the 1998 Kentucky Derby, and Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes, a University of Louisville alumnus, made the scene.
Sarah Ryan of Green Bay, Wis., is a Green Bay Packers fan who hoped to catch a glimpse of Super Bowl MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers at her second Derby. By midafternoon, Ryan hadn’t seen Rodgers, who attended the race in 2009 and 2010. But, she did see a couple of celebrity chefs and Jonathan Goldsmith, who stars as “the most interesting man in the world” in ads for Dos Equis beer.
“I love everything about it, the whole scene,” Ryan said.
Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, Olympic figure skater Sarah Hughes, who won a gold medal at the 2000 games, and New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson, a former point guard, also strutted down the red carpet.
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