The guest list for the Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala, one of the biggest indicators of what kind of celebrity year it will be at the Run for the Roses, has been announced, and it looks kinda funny.
Comedians Tracy Morgan and Larry David will be at the 29th annual gala, hosted by twins Patricia Barnstable Brown and Priscilla Barnstable to raise funds for the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Morgan’s star rose to new heights on the NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” and he is in the midst of a comeback following a devastating 2014 auto accident. David was the man behind “Seinfeld,” starred in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and was recently in the headlines for his impersonation of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on “Saturday Night Live” during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Speaking of NBC, a newcomer to the gala this year Justin Hartley who stars as Kevin Pearson in “This is Us,” arguably the most talked about new series of the 2016-17 season. Also in the lineup from the acting world are “Arrow” star Stephen Amell; Josh Henderson, best known for his role as J.R.’s son on the TNT revival of “Dallas”; and Justin Cornwell of the new CBS series “Training Day.”
The Barnstables are known as fans of the bad boys of rock, who will be well represented by frequent guest Kid Rock, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Sammy Hagar, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke; and also rocking will be guitarist Orianthi, known for her work with Michael Jackson and others. But the party is also showing a taste for the gritty gals of country with Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris and Cam — the entire female lineup of last year’s Red, White & Boom — on the guest list, along with fellow country stars Kix Brooks, Travis Tritt, Terri Clark and Clay Walker. Rounding out the musical lineup are Brian McKnight, Boyz II Men, Johnny Gill, Mary Wilson, Taylor Dayne, Joey Fatone and Harry Connick Jr., whose presence has already been announced as he will be singing the national anthem at the Derby.
A few guests falling outside typical categorizations include celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, news anchor Katie Couric and Rob O’Neill, the decorated U.S. Navy Seal who has made the controversial claim that he fired the shots that killed al-Qaeda founder and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in 2011.
The Gala always attracts sports star en masse, and this year’s guests include several pro golfers — Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Jimmy Walker — Olympic skier and thoroughbred owner Bode Miller and NFL stars Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, former Denver Broncos star Wes Welker, Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Larry Izzo and Mike Vrabel of the Houston Texans, the Tennessee Titans Matt Cassel and Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb, a University of Kentucky Star.
The Barnstable Party also frequently attracts numerous players from the current UK men’s basketball team, who are always a huge hit with the crowd that gathers around the gates of the Barnstable home.
The Barnstable Gala is also known as a destination for famous Kentuckians coming home for Derby, including country stars Montgomery Gentry; “The Voice” winner Jordan Smith; actor Chrishell Stause, a Draffenville native and Murray State graduate; and photographer Larry Birkhead, whose history with the late Anna Nicole Smith is directly related to the gala.
Follow Rich Copley on Facebook and Twitter, @copiousnotes.