Around Derbytime, you see a lot of lists: the field of horses, the things you may and may not bring to Churchill Downs, the handicappers' suggested bets, the names of the Barnstable-Brown and Grand Gala guests.
Here at Weekender Central, we've compiled our own lists: top 10 things to do, reasons for doing (or not doing) them, famous faces and more. All for fun.
CELEBRITIES WE WISH WERE COMING TO DERBY
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1. George Clooney and Ashley Judd together (right). Forget horse racing! The ruling duo of Kentucky celebrity — have they ever been seen together? — could turn the entire Derby into a platform for their social causes.
2. Lindsay Lohan. We hear that her ex, Samantha Ronson, will be there. Just imagine if LiLo unexpectedly showed up. Awkward!
3. Susan Boyle. You know you love her. The YouTube phenom from Britain's Got Talent could sing My Old Kentucky Home, accompanied by the U of L band, natch.
4. President Barack Obama and the whole Obama clan. He's barely been to Kentucky, but this time bring Bo!
5. Hugh Jackman. What with all the D-listers running around, somebody has to class up this joint. Besides, he has that Wolverine movie to promote.
6. Kathy Griffin. Speaking of D-listers ...
7. A-Rod — with his reported flame, Bethenny Frankel of Real Housewives of New York. Scandal-racked sports superstar + reality TV vixen = spectacle!
8. Mike Tyson. He has a new documentary film to promote, but careful, careful: He might bite off a horse's ear.
9. Rick Pitino. Normally we wouldn't care if the perennial Derbygoer was there, but with all the juicy hubbub surrounding him of late, we're keeping our eyes peeled.
10. The Jonas Brothers. Because by next year, we just won't care.
'CELEBRITIES' WE DON'T WANT TO SEE
1. The ShamWow Guy. He's so mesmerizing with his sales pitches (yes, we bought one of the super-duper cleaning rags) that we'd be afraid he'd convince us to part with a large sum of money on a "hot tip."
2. Dr. Phil. Completely. Over. Him. And his advice. And his hanger-on wife.
3. Anyone from Rock of Love, any season. But then again, would we even recognize them outside the skanky confines of that show?
4. Speidi, aka Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag. When will they realize no one cares anymore? Even if they are getting married, on national television.
5. Paris Hilton. Evidently she doesn't care that we don't care, because she reportedly has her ticket already.
6. Simon Cowell. But if he did come, we bet he'd be wearing that black T-shirt he always sports on American Idol.
7. Miley Cyrus. She seems to be due for the downfall part of her True Hollywood Story, and we don't want that to happen on the soil of our fair state (and her dad's native land) when the whole world's watching.
8. Ozzy Osbourne. Give it up, Oz.
9. Michael Vick. If he treated dogs that way, who knows what he'd do to horses.
10. Anyone who hasn't done anything remotely interesting in at least five years. You know who you are (Kid Rock).
REASONS TO STAY HOME
1. It's not crowded.
2. If you want the horse-racing scene, just go to Keeneland. It's prettier anyway. (But this is one Bluegrass spot that probably will be crowded.)
3. You'll save money. We're in a recession. Do you really need to spend money on gas, tickets, gambling, etc.?
4. There's a lot of cool stuff going on in Lexington. See below.
5. Didn't you lose enough money at Keeneland? Do you really want to lose more?
6. You might be too old for it. If you've outgrown hard partying and don't care about racing, is there really any appeal to Derby?
7. It's spring planting time. Green-thumbed Kentucky grandmas have always used Derby Day to mark the beginning of frost-free weather.
8. You might get a table at Seki.
9. The day's weather forecast is terrible. Do you want to be stuck at the track with 150,000 of your closest friends when it's pouring rain?
10. You'll see more on TV. NBC Sports will have wall-to-wall coverage, so you'll see more than the back of the head of the dude in front of you.
REASONS TO GO TO LOUISVILLE
1. Um, the Derby.
2. It's a real city with a downtown bigger than 12 square blocks.
3. The chance to see D-list celebrities drunk.
4. Any excuse to wear a hat.
5. You might get on TV.
6. Derby-Pie in Derby City. Sure, you can buy the dessert made by Louisville's Kern's Kitchen anywhere, but why not have it in its home city?
7. The world's eyes will be on Kentucky. Might as well be a part of that.
8. It really can be fun. If you do it right.
9. There are some fantastic restaurants there. But getting a reservation might be a problem.
10. Chances are, if you've been before, it was in college, and you were sunburned, wasted and exhausted in the Infield. Get some real seats and see what the thing is really about.
DRINKS BESIDES MINT JULEPS
Order these instead of the ubiquitous boubon-mint cocktail. For recipes, see breakout.
1. French 75. A classy, summer concoction of gin, champagne, lime and Cointreau. Mmm.
2. Sazerac. This cocktail — rye, bitters, absinthe and lemon — is evocative of old, classy New Orleans.
3. Mojito. Essentially the Cuban version of a mint julep, with rum instead of bourbon.
4. Tom Collins. A refreshing vintage cocktail of gin, lemon and soda. (For a John Collins, substitute bourbon for gin.)
5. Manhattan. If you feel beholden to Kentucky's native spirit, try this combo of bourbon, vermouth, spices and orange.
6. Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon. Why does the name of this wickedly strong pairing of absinthe and champagne seem appropriate for Derby?
7. Pimms cup. Celebrate the Derby's English origins with this veddy British cocktail of Pimms liqueur, lemonade and soda.
8. Negroni. An Italian summer favorite of Campari, gin, vermouth, soda and lemon.
9. Louisville cooler. Tip your hat to the River City with bourbon and orange and lime juices.
10. Bourbon sour. Like a whiskey sour but more Kentuckian: bourbon, lemon juice, bitters, simple syrup and egg whites.
HORSE NAMES WE'D LIKE TO SEE
1. Stop Hitting Me
2. I'm Good Enough I'm Smart Enough and Doggone It People Like Me
3. Buy Gillispie's House
4. Your Ad Here
5. Kentucky Derby Winner
6. Jockeys Are Heavy
7. Call Your Mother
8. Dow Jones 10,000
10. Old Gray Mare
THINGS TO DO BESIDES DERBY
Instead of Derby, try some of this stuff in Central Kentucky on Saturday. (All times are for Saturday only, even though some events are more than one day.)
1. Long Time Traveling by Actors Guild of Lexington. Kentucky author Silas House's play made its world premiere in Lexington last week and runs through May 17. For a review, see Page 2. 8 p.m. Downtown Arts Center, 141 E. Main St. $25, $18 ages 65 and older, $15 students. (859) 225-0370. www.lexarts.tix.com.
2. Kentucky Spring Premier Saddlebred Show. If you're in the mood for horses but not the racing kind, this show, which began Thursday, will satisfy your hank ering. Preliminary rounds will be at 10 a.m., and the big championship classes will be at 7:30 p.m. Kentucky Horse Park, 1089 Iron Works Pkwy. Included with park admission: $15, $8 for ages 7-12, free for children 6 and younger; $3 parking. (859) 268-4509. www.kyspringpremier.com.
3. Kentucky Wildcats vs. Tennessee baseball. It's America's pastime. 4 p.m. Cliff Hagan Stadium, Complex Drive and Sports Center Drive. $5, $2 youth and seniors. www.ukathletics.com.
4. Anand Bhate, classical Indian vocal music. Bhate will be accompanied by Rajeev Paranjpe on harmonium and Sanjay Karandikar on tabla. 6:30 p.m. Bharatiya Temple and Cultural Center, 3050 N. Cleveland Rd. Suggested donations: $10 adults, $5 students and children. (859) 277-0130
5. Point and Shoot: Photography in Kentucky. This exhibition featuring the work of Kentucky artists runs through June 7. Noon-4:30 p.m.. ArtsPlace, 161 N. Mill St. Free. (859) 255-2951. www.lexarts.org.
6. James Gregory. "The Funniest Man in America" will have a special engagement. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Comedy Off Broadway, 161 Lexington Green Cir. $22. (859) 271-5653. www.comedyoffbroadway.com.
7. Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries From the Petrie Museum. The blockbuster exhibit examining one of the greatest civilizations ever will be on display through June 14. Noon-5 p.m. The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, 405 Rose St. $10; $8 senior citizens; free for students and UK faculty, staff and alumni. (859) 257-5716. www.uky.edu/artmuseum.
8. The Johnson Brothers. One of Lexington's best-loved rock bands. 9 p.m. Natasha's Bistro & Bar, 112 Esplanade. $10. (859) 259-2754. www.beetnik.com.
9. Kenny Whalen and the Travelers. Clinton Spaulding, Renee' Thomas and Jodie Conley will join the house band at one of Central Kentucky's little-known musical gems for a night of family-friendly entertainment. 8 p.m. Musicland, Paris. $10, $7 ages 7-12, free for children 6 and younger. (859) 987-4809 or (859) 987-9893. www.yourmusicland.com.
10. University Open. The best college artists from across Kentucky exhibit their work in this fourth annual show, which runs through June 13. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. LAL @ DAC, 141 E. Main St. Free. (859) 254-7024. www.lexingtonartleague.com.