The Breeders’ Cup is one of horse racing’s most glamorous events, and it attracts the jet set from every corner of the globe. Celebrities from the motion picture, music, fashion and sports industries turn out for this can't-miss event of the year. Don’t miss your chance to see, and be seen with, the VIP crowd as you watch the world’s finest race horses compete on the track. Be there when the stars come out.
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.
Florida native Kate Upton always knew she wanted to be a model. Since signing with IMG Models, 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. Kate 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.
Walker Buehler is a MLB pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was selected by the Dodgers 24th overall in the 2015 MLB draft out of Vanderbilt University, and made his MLB debut in 2017. Walker grew up in Lexington, Kentucky and has love of horses and horse racing. Walker attended the 2015 and 2018 Breeders’ Cup in Kentucky and is set to attend the 2019 edition at Santa Anita!
Actress Elizabeth Banks has enjoyed much success onscreen and 2015 will be no exception. Fans can look forward to seeing Banks in multiple film projects, including the much-anticipated finale of the The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay - Part 2. 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.
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 Chief Baseball Officer for MLB operations. 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 and 2013 Pacific Classic winner, Game On Dude. To stay up to date on the happenings in Torre’s life, follow him on Twitter @JoeTorre or visit www.joetorre.org.
Rashard Lewis is a retired NBA Champion and All-Star. Lewis entered the NBA at the young age of eighteen; straight out of high school. After playing 16 years in the NBA, 2-Allstar appearances and winning a championship with the Miami Heat, Lewis now plays in the BIG3, is the captain of the 3-Headed Monsters and the leagues 2017 BIG3 MVP.
Rashard found a love of horse racing many years ago and has owned many amazing Thoroughbreds along the way. Join in the Dance competed in the Kentucky Derby (2009) and Cigar Street raced in the Breeders Cup Classic (2014). Although, they did not win, the excited and accomplishment of competing at that level was a win in itself.
To keep up with Rashard follow him on Instagram!
Michael Owen is a former English footballer who played as a striker for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United, Stoke City, and the England national team. Since retiring, he has been working as a pundit and co-commentator with BT Sport, an International Ambassador for Liverpool FC and has set up a football management company to help guide young players through their careers.
Michael is also co-owner at Manor House Stables, a state of the art training facility in the Cheshire Countryside. The yard itself has successfully sent out International and Domestic winners but as an owner, his greatest moment in the sport is when Brown Panther, foaled from his own mare Treble Heights, gave him his first Group 1 winner as a racehorse owner in the 2014 Irish St Leger.
Michael has also been learning to ride this year and will realize a long time ambition in November as he makes his debut in the saddle in the Prince’s Countryside Fund Race Day over 7 furlongs at Ascot.
Follow Michael on twitter @themichaelowen.
Emmy-winning television star, celebrity stylist, New York Times best-selling author and fashion designer, Carson Kressley is out to make over the world. He became a breakout star on Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, where he was one of the show's "Fab Five" and went on to host multiple TV shows including OWN Network’s Carson-Nation. He’s also strutted his stuff as a fan-favorite on season 13 of Dancing with the Stars and recently battled it out in the name of charity on the latest edition of The Apprentice. While Carson may be best known for his impeccable fashion sense, those immersed in the world of American Saddlebreds know him as an experienced and gifted horseman, whose impressive equestrian resume includes myriad awards, including a prestigious World Championship in 2009. You can hear directly from the fashionista himself on Twitter by following @CarsonKressley.
Toby Keith has built an unparalleled musical legacy and was recently inducted unto the Songwriters Hall of Fame. 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.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler first captured audiences when she appeared on HBO’s critically acclaimed drama The Sopranos as mafia daughter, ‘Meadow Soprano.’ Her performance on the show earned her the 1999 and 2000 Hollywood Reporter Young Star Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Series. Now the extraordinary talent is lighting the screen displaying her vast range of acting chops.
Sigler recently completed guest star role on Hallmark’s Channel’s series Signed, Sealed, Delivered opposite Eric Mabius. Sigler’s film credits include Gangster Land, Anatomy of The Tide, Justice, Loserville, Broken Tail Light, Divorce Invitation, and Dark Ride. Sigler’s TV credits include NBC’s Guy’s with Kids, CBS’ hit new show CSI: CYBER and FREEFORM Network’s Baby Daddy. She also had recurring roles on HBO’s hit series Entourage, ABC’s Ugly Betty, as well as character arcs on How I Met Your Mother, Last Man Standing, and Dads. Sigler’s talents extend to the stage as well. She made her Broadway debut as ‘Belle’ in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast from October 2002 through February 2003. In the summer of 2001, she starred in the national tour of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella opposite Eartha Kitt. Additional theater roles include New York regional productions of Annie, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, The Wiz, and Gypsy.
A native of New York, Sigler divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.
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, Hot n’ Dusty, 2012 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Champion, Mizdirection and 2013's Two-Year-Old Champion, Shared Belief. For more information on Rome, visit www.jimrome.com or follow him on Twitter @jimrome.
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.
Erik Johnson is an NHL All-Star Defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche, a United States Olympian and a Silver Medal winner at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. Erik is entering his 11th NHL season in 2017 and has amassed 237 points in 575 games.
Erik was first introduced to horse racing when he went to Opening Day at Del Mar in 2004. He was drawn into ownership in 2014 with a Doug O’Neill trainee named Slapshot Man and has been hooked on horse racing ever since.
Johnson's most notable moment as an owner was with a co-owned filly, Shane's Girlfriend, who won the 2016 G3 Delta Princess by 13 lengths in a Stakes record time. Another notable racing accomplishment was when his filly, Munny Spunt, who he claimed for 25,000, won the Grade 3 Torrey Pines at Del Mar at odds of 18/1.
Johnson spends most of his off season training in Southern California and loves to head to the track on the weekends for morning workouts and afternoon racing. You can follow him on twitter at @6ErikJohnson.
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.
Hall-of-fame 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.
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. Ortiz was amazed by the races at Santa Anita, 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.
A New Orleans native, Avery signed with the Seattle Supersonics in 1988 and went on to play a sixteen-season career with the NBA, most notably helping guide the San Antonio Spurs to their 1999 NBA Championship. In 2004, he began his coaching career with the Dallas Mavericks where he was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2006. In 2007, the San Antonio Spurs retired Avery’s #6 jersey, one of his greatest honors. He was then invited to join the University of Alabama’s athletic department as the men’s head basketball coach where he guided the Crimson Tide to the 2018 NCAA tournament. Avery also worked as a broadcast analyst for ESPN, CBS Sports Network, & CBS Sports HQ, where he continues to be featured to this day. Avery currently serves as co-partner for the Allan Bailey Johnson Group in Dallas, and in 2020, he co-founded Avery Capital, a $100 million GSA anchored real estate fund. He is a horse racing connoisseur, with many friends at Winstar Farm, Repole Racing, and Team Penney Racing. Avery also enjoys going to early morning workouts with his favorite trainer, Todd Pletcher.
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. 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 in 2012 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.
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 The Player Foundation has raised more than $64 million 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 400courses worldwide.
When Gary Player won the U.S. 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 more than 28 million air 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 Florida.
Breeders' Cup weekend is marked on my calendar every year. I grew up going to the races with my Dad and my love of the sport has only grown. The racing, the fashion, the beautiful tracks and the parties...the Breeders' Cup has it all.
Elizabeth Banks, Film Actress
The fastest horses in the world will be coming to Santa Anita to compete in the Breeders' Cup in November. It's the richest, most exciting event each year and makes most other sporting events look, well, quaint.
Bo Derek, Television and Film Actress
The Breeders’ Cup are two of the most special days in horse racing. It is the Super Bowl, March Madness, and World Series combined into one weekend a year. It is where all the great ones come together to compete.
Rick Pitino, Head Coach, University of Louisville
It’s the richest event in sports, so it’s a lot of fun.
Kurt Russell, Television and Film Actor
My love for thoroughbred horses and racing closely rivals my love for golf, and it is such a thrill to now be named an ambassador for the Breeders' Cup.
Gary Player, Professional Golfer
You can't beat the style, entertainment and excitement of a day at the races, especially when you're watching the world's best Thoroughbreds compete.
Kate Upton, Model