LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Churchill Downs rolled out the red carpet for celebrities arriving for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and lined it with rose petals.
Jenny McCarthy, who has starred in her own television show, said it was her first Kentucky Derby appearance, and she hoped to meet another Derby visitor — Queen Elizabeth II.
"I'm scared of what to day to her, though. There are so many rules," McCarthy said. "Yo! Wassup. That probably isn't appropriate."
Melissa Joan Hart, of "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" fame, said she's been studying how to approach royalty knowing the Queen would be at the Derby.
When it came to playing the horses, Gene Simmons, formerly of the rock band Kiss, had money down. Only, he didn't bet it, his girlfriend, former Playmate of the Year Shannon Tweed, did.
"I'm what's called a sucker," Simmons bellowed. "This one (Tweed) bet $100,000 of my money on a horse."
Neither Simmons nor Tweed would say which of the 20 Derby entrants had the big money riding on it. Tweed said she knows little of horse racing. She picked the horse based on how the jockey's silks looked.
On Friday night, locals cheered as Larry Birkhead, ex-boyfriend to the late Anna Nicole Smith and father to her lone heir, entered the Barnstable Brown gala, the annual party where he met Smith in 2004.
Birkhead returned to his hometown, Louisville, from the Bahamas on Tuesday for the Derby week festivities, accompanied by his and Smith's 7-month-old daughter, Dannielynn.
After Smith's death in January, Birkhead was among several suitors who claimed paternity. Birkhead prevailed when tests showed he is the father, and he was allowed to leave the Bahamas with the baby this week.
He said Dannielynn was at home Friday night, getting to know his family.
"She's doing great," he said.