Celebrity Day at the Downs 2012

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by Michelle Arnold, Photos by Elle Fuller

WHAS11.com

Photos from Celebrity Day at the Downs 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Stars kicked off Derby weekend where it's only fitting, lunch on Millionaires’ Row.  Pegasus Parade Grand Marshal Cyndi Lauper made a brief appearance, and the stars we met were happy to be at the track.

“It's been great so far, everybody reminds me of everyone at home because I’m from Wisconsin," Miss America Laura Kaeppeler said.

“There's no housewives here, which I'm really excited about. It's actually just myself,  so I'm making friends and no one's fighting,” Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson said.

The mood is anything but hostile. Guests were dressed to the nines and ready to partake in the Kentucky culture.

“I never thought I loved wearing hats, now I'm like a hat addict. I love hats,” Gunvalson said.

“We are having our fifth annual derby poker championship at the Seelbach hotel,” poker player Robert Williamson III said.

“The Derby mood is great. It's been electric all week and as each day gets closer to Friday and Saturday you can feel it building,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.

Millionaires’ row is no stranger to horse racing royalty, but today fans got to meet a prince charming from right here in Kentuckiana.

“It feels good to back home this time of year for Derby,” actor Josh Dallas said.

Photos from Celebrity Day at the Downs 2012

The New Albany native and star of ABC’s hit show “Once Upon a Time” was at the luncheon with co-star and girlfriend Ginnifer Goodwin. He told us where they would be hanging out this weekend.

“Obviously all around the Bardstown Road area. I've taken her around there; we love it. I love it around there.,” said Dallas.

But around here, everyone wants to cash a big ticket. With a wide open field, who do the stars like for the Kentucky Derby?

“I have a very intricate and complex way I place bets and that's all about what name I think is best,” Dallas said.

“My wife advises me she says he's wearing pretty colors and he's got a great name,” Williamson said. 

Actor Jonathan Kite is following Williamson's lead.

“Whatever he bets on, that's what I’m gonna bet on,” Kite said.

“The best advice I have is don’t listen to my Derby pick,” Fischer said.

The stars are ready for this weekend...are you?

“It's a great time to be in Louisville. The eyes of the world are upon us,” Fischer said.

Photos from Celebrity Day at the Downs 2012

Kentucky Oaks 138 Photos:

-Sights from Kentucky Oaks 138

-Hats and fascinators part 1

-WHAS11 at Oaks 138 part 1

-Fashion, fun: Oaks 138

-Hats and fascinators at Oaks 2012

-WHAS11 at Oaks 138 part 2

-Good Morning Kentuckiana at Oaks 2012

More coverage on the WHAS11 Kentucky Derby section

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