Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby draws celebrities for Churchill fun (photos and videos)

The star-studded Kentucky Derby red carpet was full of elegant dresses and big hats Saturday as celebrities like Jeff Bridges, Harry Connick Jr. and Justin Hartley enjoyed a day at the races.

Bridges, normally a vodka fan, said he was planning on trying a mint julep while in town for the Derby. And “The Dude” wasn’t the only celebrity on the red carpet planning to imbibe.

Singer Eddie Montgomery told reporters he’d be drinking while his wife handled the betting. Designer Carson Kressley tried to make off with an entire bottle of G.H. Mumm champagne that was being signed by celebrities on the red carpet, but his plan was foiled by an attendant.

Harry Connick Jr. visited the red carpet before singing the national anthem for the big race.

“I always say, ‘think about what you’re singing about,’” Connick said. “Sometimes when you get up in front of a bunch of people, you have a tendency to look out at the crowd and be taken by that. But for me it’s all about the words and that beautiful melody and what I’m singing about.”

Singer Travis Tritt gave a short performance on the red carpet, singing a few lines of his hit “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive.”

David “Big Papi” Ortiz, retired designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, was among the prominent athletes who walked the red carpet.

Several state and local politicians were also in attendance Saturday.

“For the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the sun is shining bright on our old Kentucky home as we show off what’s best, the great things we have to offer,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said. “Not only our horses, but our bourbon.”

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