Horse racing is one of those sports that appeals to people across all demographics. It’s popular around the world, with young and old, rich and poor. There is something about the sport that just calls to people. Unlike NASCAR or greyhound racing, horse racing still has a certain prestige.
The biggest races are also fantastic social and publicity events, a great place to see and be seen. Since the glamorous days of old Hollywood when the Santa Anita Park racetrack in Southern California attracted stars like Bing Crosby and Clark Gable, horse racing has drawn in the hottest names in show business.
One of the great things about horse racing is that you don’t have to be an A-Lister to enjoy it or to bet on it. It’s just as much fun to watch the races from a private box as it is to be a railbird, perched along the track. From one you might have the perfect view, but from the other, you can feel the pounding hooves.
With the rise of online sports betting, it’s also easier than ever to place bets on horse races. Even if you’re new to sports betting, there are now online betting guides that can explain how the odds work, give reviews of bookmakers, and even provide hot tips and other information.
So, whether you’re sipping mint juleps in the stands at the Kentucky Derby or shouting from the apron of a small local track such as Emerald Downs, there’s a place in racing for everyone. You’ll find some celebrities in private boxes and others down in the stables with the horses they own.
Musicians, actors, athletes and even chefs, the list of celebrities who love horse racing is a long and diverse one. Here are some of the big names who are known to hit the racetrack:
Gene Simmons might not be the easiest celebrity to pick out in a crowd as he doesn’t tend to leave the house dressed in his full KISS makeup these days! Simmons doesn’t just like to watch the races; he also enjoys betting on them. One episode of his reality show included a trip to the Kentucky Derby.
He and his girlfriend placed a $100,000 bet, picking the horse based on the jockey’s silks. It might not be the smartest betting strategy, but sometimes you just have to trust your instincts. He should have seen the risk of trusting a bet to a “Hard Luck Woman”!
Bobby Flay made his name as a celebrity chef and as the host of cooking shows such as Boy Meets Grill, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The Iron Chef judge is also very involved in the horse racing world. Besides betting on races, he also owns racehorses.
Just this month, his horse Contemporary Art raced at Belmont Park in New York. Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Contemporary Art finished second in a 1 1/16-mile race on turf. Some of his other horses include Pizza Bianca, Mezcal, Eamonn and First Captain — all of which have won or placed in recent races.
It’s no surprise that Vince McMahon has been spotted at some of the biggest horse races. He’s a sportsman who loves a good show. He and his wife are also known to have friends who own racehorses.
As the owner of the biggest professional wrestling franchise in the United States, World Wrestling Entertainment, he’s used to scripted contests, so it must be refreshing to watch an event and not know what the outcome is going to be.
Before Chris Pine stepped up and made the role his own, William Shatner was mainly known as the man behind Captain Kirk. Fewer people know that alongside his love of space, he has a deep love of horses and has actually owned horse farms since the 1970s.
While his farms were focused on breeding show horses rather than racehorses, he is still a fan of the sport. Having spent so much time in Kentucky with his show horses, it’s hard to imagine that he didn’t also make time for trips to Churchill Downs in Louisville.
While Madonna has mainly been in the news in recent years for her antics on stage during her performances or for her bizarre TikTok videos, she is also a known horse lover and fan of betting on horse races. She was badly injured in a fall from a horse in 2005 but still loves riding and watching races.
Though the original Material Girl might not own any horses, she is the namesake of quite a few. Madonna has been a popular name for racehorses since the 1980s and there are even a few named Material Girl. None have earned the title Queen of Pop yet though!
Olympic gold medalist and World Champion downhill skier Bode Miller is another celebrity who doesn’t just watch horse races, he also owns racehorses. He became interested in the sport through his friendship with horse trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert even named one of his horses Bodemeister after the skier!
While his horses haven’t necessarily had the most success, the sport has become a passion for Miller. He has become very interested in improving horse training methods. Coming from an Olympic background, he believes that horses should be treated like star athletes, not just animals.