Guide to the Derby spectacle

Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports

There's a lot going on in Louisville on Derby weekend before the Run for the Roses actually takes place.

This Saturday, all eyes will be on Churchill Downs in Louisville, the site of the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. If you've never been there in person to don a hat and sip a mint julep, the spectacle of the Derby can be a bit overwhelming. Well, I'm here to help. Whether you're in it for the fashion (oh, the hats!), the celebrities (hold me closer, Tony Danza) or the gambling (a gentleman's bet, of course), we've got it covered.

Celeb spotting

Celebrities attending the Derby usually pop up first at the Barnstable Brown Gala, held annually on the eve of the race. The fete, thrown by philanthropist and former pageant queen and model Patricia Barnstable Brown, is legendary for its musical acts. Among the performers taking the stage this year? Kings of Leon, Miranda Lambert, Boyz II Men, Dierks Bentley, My Morning Jacket and Salt-n-Pepa.

The Courier-Journal has the list of celebs and athletes attending, as well. Stars like Gene Simmons, Pete Wentz, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Kris Humphries, Jason Dufner, Aaron Rodgers, Jodie Meeks, Vince Wilfork and ESPN's own Jay Williams.

Noam Galai/Getty Images

It doesn't get much better than having a horse running who's named for '80s sitcom star Tony Danza.

If you head to Churchill Downs on Friday, you're likely to spot Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. His horse, Empress of Midway, will race in the Kentucky Oaks.

Two of the most sought-after celebs in Louisville will be Olympic darlings Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who will provide their own special kind of commentary for NBC on race day. They'll leave the actual calling of the race to the experts, instead giving their thoughts on fashion, celebrities, parties and the overall scene at Churchill Downs. If Weir's comments during an NBC Sports pre-race teleconference are any indication, fans will get the same candor and humor they loved in Sochi:

"You don't really think of Kentucky and fashion together. So it's their shining moment for the year with fashion," said Weir, sure to face the wrath of the best-dressed in the Bluegrass State.

But perhaps the most famous -- or infamous -- celebrity at this year's Kentucky Derby will be "Who's the Boss?" star Tony Danza, the namesake for Derby competitor Danza. The 1980s sitcom star will attend the Derby as a guest of the horse's owners, who run Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. I anticipate seeing a lot of "Danza & Me" selfies from Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Follow their lead

You can follow 13 of the Kentucky Derby's 20 entrants on Twitter or Facebook. @RIDEONCURLIN uses social media to market hats with his name on them, while @DanceWithFate posts mostly photos of himself -- but as gorgeous as he is, you almost can't blame him.

Odds are

California Chrome is the favorite to win this year's Derby, with 5-2 odds. Jockey Victor Espinoza has found success at Churchill Downs before, leading War Emblem to victory in 2002 -- and from the fifth post, where California Chrome will start Saturday. The horse's home state may cause some worry, though, as no California-bred horse has won the Derby since 1962.

AP Photo/Garry Jones

On a serious note, Rosie Napravnik will try to become the first female jockey to win the Derby, as she rides Vicar's In Trouble.

Wicked Strong comes in next with 6-1 odds, and he boasts a great pedigree -- his sire, Hard Spun, placed second in the Derby in 2007, and his dam was sired by 1999 Derby winner Charismatic. Unfortunately, he'll start the race out of the 19th post, and only one horse, 2012's I'll Have Another, has won out of that post. Bostonians will certainly be rooting for Wicked Strong -- his name was changed after the Boston Marathon bombings, and a portion of his winnings will be donated to the One Fund, which supports victims of the attack.

Uncle Sigh, at 30-1, also races for a bigger cause. His owner, George McEwen, donates 10 percent of his entire stable's earnings to the Wounded Warrior Project, a veterans service organization.

Another long shot (20-1) to root for is Vicar's In Trouble and jockey Rosie Napravnik, the only female jockey in the race. Napravnik is the first woman rider to win the Kentucky Oaks and the Louisiana Derby (twice). Saturday she'll try to be the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.

What's in a name?

If playing the odds doesn't suit you, why not try to find the meaning in a moniker. In the 139-year history of the Kentucky Derby, a few naming trends have emerged among the winners. If trends are to be believed, a couple of this year's horses may have a leg up in Saturday's race ...

Let's hear it for the boys
1885 -- Joe Cotton
1886 -- Ben Ali
1890 -- Riley
1896 -- Ben Brush
1899 -- Manuel
1900 -- Lieut. Gibson
1902 -- Alan-a-Dale
1916 -- George Smith
1917 -- Omar Khayyam
1920 -- Paul Jones
1929 -- Clyde Van Dusen
1939 -- Johnstown
1958 -- Tim Tam
1959 -- Tomy Lee
1986 -- Ferdinand

2014 entrants
* General A Rod
Harry's Holiday
We Miss Artie

A horse of a different color
1907 -- Pink Star
1909 -- Wintergreen
1914 -- Old Rosebud
1924 -- Black Gold
1925 -- Flying Ebony
1988 -- Winning Colors
1991 -- Strike The Gold
1997 -- Silver Charm
2008 -- Big Brown

2014 entrants
* Wildcat Red
California Chrome (bit of a reach, but we'll let it slide)

Royal references
1879 -- Lord Murphy
1891 -- Kingman
1906 -- Sir Huon
1919 -- Sir Barton
1932 -- Burgoo King
1943 -- Count Fleet
1951 -- Count Turf
1966 -- Kauai King
1969 -- Majestic Prince

2014 entrant
* Medal Count (it's a stretch, but we'll take it)

Points for whimsy
1876 -- Vagrant
1921 -- Behave Yourself
1932 -- Burgoo King
1994 -- Go For Gin
2012 -- I'll Have Another

2014 entrants
* Danza
Vicar's In Trouble

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