66 days and counting

Celebrity Ambassadors

Breeders' Cup Ambassadors

Fifteen celebrity racing fans and owners have been honored as Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors. The honor comes with rewards which allow the Ambassadors to enjoy horse racing all over the world, including concierge service, tickets, and more. Additionally, they will serve as spokespersons for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and help promote this prestigious international event.

    • Kate Upton

    • Florida native Kate Upton always knew she wanted to be a model. Since signing with IMG Models three years ago, Kate has taken the world by storm. She has graced the covers of several notable magazines, including American Vogue, Vanity Fair, American Elle,  Vogue Italia, British Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ, and the legendary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue two years in a row. The 21-year-old has also been featured in many fashion editorials and has appeared on Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Ellen Show. Known for her vivacious personality and incredible physique, Kate has been the face for Guess Jeans, Sam Edelman, David Yurman, Gillette and Mercedes. Kate now resides in New York, her favorite city. An avid sports fan, she enjoys spending time at the barn and horseback riding. To keep up with Kate, please contact IMG Models or follow @kateupton on Twitter.

    • Bobby Flay

    • Bobby Flay is a critically acclaimed chef, restaurateur, author and television personality who began his career in the heart of New York City. Flay developed his craft at The French Culinary Institute in NYC and went on to create his own style of American southwestern cuisine. Since opening his first restaurant in 1991 (Mesa Grill), Flay has opened several additional restaurants and bars in New York, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Uncasville and the Bahamas. The culinary aficionado was introduced to thoroughbred racing as a child when his grandfather, Willie Flay, brought him to the races at Belmont Park and Saratoga Springs. The experience left a lasting impression on Flay, who later returned to the tracks to become an owner. One of Flay’s most notable moments as an owner occurred in 2010 when More Than Real, a horse Flay owned in partnership with others, captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs. Today, Flay remains passionately involved in Thoroughbred sales and racing and serves as a member on both the Breeders’ Cup and New York Racing Association Board of Directors. For delicious recipes and updates from Flay himself, follow @bflay on Twitter or visit www.bobbyflay.com.

    • Joe Torre

    • Joe Torre’s list of sports credentials is impressive and growing. Boasting a legendary career in the baseball industry, Torre was a professional baseball player, team manager, nine-time All-Star, and currently serves as the Executive Vice President for MLB operations. This year, he managed Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Although Torre is best known for his success in the baseball community, he is also a contender at the racetrack. Torre has owned several successful horses in the past, including 2005 Ashland Stakes winner, Sis City. He currently co-owns one of the top older horses in the Classic division, Game On Dude. The “Dude” is once again on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Classic this November 2nd as Santa Anita Park. To stay up to date on the happenings in Torre’s life, follow him on Twitter @JoeTorre or visit www.joetorre.org.

    • Rick Pitino

    • University of Louisville basketball coach, Rick Pitino, holds the distinction of being the only men’s coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to a Final Four. A thoroughbred racing enthusiast, Pitino brings his passion on the court to the racetrack by naming his horses after beloved Louisville Cardinal players. The successful author and motivational speaker is also a lead partner at Celtic Pride Stables and the Ol Memorial Stable, where he maintains part ownership of several competitors including Siva, South Floyd, Russdiculous, Avare and Goldencents. Among his most notable horses are AP Valentine and Halory Hunter, trained by Nick Zito. Claiming recent victories at the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes and the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, Pitino's horse, Goldencents, is a Derby hopeful.

    • Jim Rome

    • Sports radio and television talk show host, Jim Rome, spent years leading the sports discussion on ESPN’s Jim Rome Is Burning television series. Today, Rome hosts The Jim Rome Show on radio, Rome on the CBS Sports Network, and is a fixture on CBS’ main network and Showtime. Rome is tied for the #21 most listened to talk radio show in the U.S. and the #29 most influential talk radio personality, according to Talkers Magazine. Shortly after he interviewed Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux in 2007, Rome took a liking to the sport of horse racing. He purchased part ownership in his first thoroughbred, Wing Forward, in 2008. Now, Rome and his wife have claimed full or part ownership of 14 horses under Jungle Racing LLC, including Surfer Girl, Gallatin’s Run and Hot n’ Dusty. Rome's horse, Mizdirection, won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in 2012. For more information on Rome, visit www.jimrome.com or follow him on Twitter @jimrome.

    • Bo Derek

    • Bo Derek is a film and television actress, movie producer, model, horse owner and activist. Known for her role as Jenny Hanley in the 1979 comedy film, 10, Derek has also been active in the Animal Welfare Institute’s campaign to end horse slaughter through the passage of federal and statue legislation. In 2002, Derek published an autobiography entitled, Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned from Horses. She currently serves on the California Horse Racing Board. Hear from Derek herself on Twitter by following @BoDerek or visit her website at www.blessthebeasts.net.

    • Elizabeth Banks

    • Actress Elizabeth Banks has enjoyed much success onscreen and 2013 will be no exception. Fans can look forward to seeing Banks in multiple film projects, including the much-anticipated second installment of the The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. Still, Hollywood is not the star’s only passion. When Banks played Marcela in the 2003 biographical sports drama, Seabiscuit, the actress was already familiar with equestrian sports. As a child, Banks grew up riding horses in a small town in Western Massachusetts and was introduced to horse racing by her father. Today, thoroughbred racing, and the Breeders Cup in particular, remains a Banks family favorite. To hear directly from the star herself, follow @ElizabethBanks on Twitter or visit www.elizabethbanks.com.

    • Rob Dyrdek

    • Professional skateboarder, actor, entrepreneur, and producer, Rob Dyrdek was introduced to horse racing by friend and longtime horse owner, Joe Ciaglia Jr. in 2009. In typical Dyrdek style, his entry into the sport of thoroughbred racing was unconventional to say the least. After purchasing his first horse, Mega Heat, Dyrdek jockeyed the gelding in his first race under the name “Bolt Speedman.” While the reality TV star has set 21 separate Guinness World Records, this was arguably one of his most unique adventures. Today, Dyrdek co-owns 11 horses including 2011 Breeder’s Cup contender, Weemissfrankie, named after actor and television director, Frank Alesia. Stay in touch with Dyrdek by following @robdyrdek on Twitter, and by visiting his website www.dyrdek.com.

    • Laura Bell Bundy

    • Laura Bell Bundy began her acting career at the early age of fourteen and has only gone up from there. She played her first role in the megahit Jumanji, and now is a renowned figure in both the music and film industries. Bundy, a proud Kentuckian born and raised in the heart of Lexington has produced numerous country hits such as Giddy On Up, and Drop on By. A fitting icon for the sport of racing, Bundy has been a part of the racing community since early childhood and continues to enjoy the classic pastime with her family and friends. Follow Bundy on Twitter @LauraBellBundy or visit www.laurabellbundy.com.

    • Toby Keith

    • 2013 will not disappoint fans of country star Toby Keith, the CMA Male Vocalist of the Year nominee who is slated to appear in multiple national tours. When he’s not performing, he can be found spending time with his horses and studying racing pedigree. As owner of a 330-acre farm in Oklahoma, Keith keeps over 100 mares and is active in sales. While he is involved in purchasing horses for both racing and resale, Keith’s passion for horse racing emanates from a love of animals. The horse racing community will always hold Keith in high esteem for breeding the undefeated juvenile Graded takes winner, Cactus Ridge. For updates directly from Keith and his team, follow @tobykeithmusic on Twitter and visit his website www.tobykeith.com.

    • Wes Welker

    • The first receiver in NFL history with at least three 110-reception seasons, and the first with five 100-reception seasons, Wes Welker will likely be the Denver Bronco's most targeted receiver. During the offseason, Welker enjoys spending his time betting and watching races at various tracks around the country. After purchasing his first yearling, Nina Fever, Welker's interest in the sport only grew stronger. He has since bought into five other yearlings, one of which recently won his debut at Keeneland in April 2012. It didn't take long for Undrafted, Welker's first 2-year-old winner, to prove himself on the racetrack as Wes has on the football field. To hear from Welker himself, follow @weswelker on Twitter or visit www.weswelker.com.

    • Steven Jackson

    • A Las Vegas, Nevada native, Steven Jackson has drawn a large presence of college football scouts and promoters in the Vegas area. His devotion to his childhood community led to the mayor awarding him the key to Las Vegas. At the age of ten, he wrote poems about his dream to be a professional football player. Now a record-holding running back, Jackson will make the trek south this fall after signing a three-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons. A Pro-Bowl athlete, Oregon State legend and the St. Louis Rams’ 2006 Most Valuable Player, Jackson has grown from an aspiring childhood dreamer to one of the highest performing and most dedicated running backs in NFL history. He attended his first Breeders’ Cup last November and is now an esteemed fan of Thoroughbred racing. Jackson and his personal charity organization, “The Steven Jackson Foundation,” are nowhere near finished leaving their mark on the National Football League and the Breeders’ Cup community.

    • John Ortiz

    • Actor John Ortiz was born and raised in Brooklyn New York and currently resides in California with his wife and son. He has played varying roles in countless productions in the film industry. One could say Ortiz practically works at Santa Anita. Having played the horseracing fanatic “Turo Escalante” in the HBO series Luck, Ortiz seemed to have found his home at the track. Luck was shot at Santa Anita Park, the racetrack where this year’s Breeders’ Cup will take place for the second year in a row. Ortiz was amazed by the races at Santa Anita last November, having called the Breeders’ Cup, “one big celebration of the world’s finest, in my opinion, athletes in the world.” Ortiz knows and adores the industry inside and out, and is without a doubt part of the Breeders’ Cup faithful.

    • Avery Johnson

    • A former Houston Rocket, Denver Nugget, Dallas Maverick, San Antonio Spur and captain of the Golden State Warriors, Avery Johnson has played professional basketball in nearly all regions of the United States. After his sixteen-year career as an NBA point guard, he went on to coach the Denver Nuggets and the Brooklyn Nets. Johnson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and attended Southern University. He is now a horse owner and racing connoisseur, with many friends at Winstar Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. An extremely gifted athlete and horse racing aficionado, Avery Johnson and his retired #6 jersey can be found in the Spurs’ Hall of Fame today.

    • James Carville

    • Success rarely comes easy in the realm of politics, and James Carville knew the path wouldn’t be an effortless one. Carville is an American political commentator and media personality of the Democratic Party. Raised in Louisiana and a proud LSU graduate, he is very well known for his strategic contributions to Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. Carville served in the Unites States Marine Corps and is now a radio host and political science professor at Tulane University. He has also served as a campaign advisor for Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani in the 2009 election. Carville is an avid fan of thoroughbred horseracing, and his widespread influence has introduced many to the sport.

    • Gary Player

    • Gary Player, often referred to as the Black Knight, symbolizes all that world class golf is or was ever intended to be. A champion in every sense of the word, he has won 165 professional tournaments worldwide and through the philanthropic efforts of his foundation generated over $50 million dollars for the education of underprivileged children. Player, a master of the game, and a world leader in golf course design is credited with shaping more than 325 courses worldwide.

      When Gary Player won the US Open in 1965 at age 29, he became only the third golfer to win the Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. Since then, only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have added their names to this elite group. Player has, to date, won nine major championships on the regular PGA Tour and nine on the Senior or Champions Tour. He is a three time President’s Cup Captain and in 2000 received South Africa’s Sportsman of the Century Award.

      Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Player has circled the globe in pursuit of sporting events, and after journeying over 15 million miles, or 25 million kilometers, he is widely recognized as The World’s Most Traveled Athlete™. When not traveling to or from sporting events, Player divides his time between the South African stud farm, where he has bred over 2000 winning thoroughbred race horses, and his residence on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, Florida.

      For further information on Gary Player, The Player Foundation, Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate or Black Knight International, visit garyplayer.com or follow him on Twitter @garyplayer.