Celebrities at Derby

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)-- From star-studded parties to the red carpet, Hollywood's hottest invade Louisville to do Kentucky Derby right. And the VIP treatment starts with where they stay.

Take, for instance, the Omni Hotel.

"This is reserved for a VIP guest during Derby weekend," said Eamon O'Brien, director of sales and marketing for Omni Louisville. He showed us around the hotel's presidential suite.

"It's roughly five times the square footage of a standard room," O'Brien said.

While he can't say who will be calling the suite home during Derby, he can say they'll get star treatment.

"It's really important to treat them because you want them to come back," said O'Brien.

With panoramic views of the city, the presidential suite features a pool table, master bedroom with walk-in closet and a copper-plated soaking tub where he claims guests can see the big screen at Churchill Downs if they look close enough.

"You couldn't exactly tell what horse will be winning but you can see the screens and you can see right down Third Street into Churchill Downs," O'Brien said.

The Omni's 600 rooms, including 34 deluxe suites, are completely sold out for the city's biggest weekend of the year. Rates for a standard room start at $2,100 a night for the "Run for the Roses."

After a long day at the track, some will head to Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, a regular hangout for celebrities come Derby week.

"It's funny because the restaurant will sit empty until the race gets over, and when the race gets over, everybody flocks from Churchill to the steakhouse so they all show up at the same time," said Dillon Ruby, who is the son of owner Jeff Ruby and also serves as corporate executive manager for Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment.

Pictures of owner Jeff Ruby and big-time stars line the walls, just a peek into the type of people who will make their way to the downtown restaurant after the race.

"We've got guys like Travis Tritt and Mary J. Blige and Boyz II Men that will just get up on stage and start singing with our bands. It's just the norm this week," said Ruby. He says it's all hands on deck during race weekend.

"From the jockeys to the horse owners to the musicians and the football players that just really enjoy coming here," he said.

To keep the service quality high, the steakhouse offers a scaled-down menu for Derby weekend.

"So this year we're going to have caviar on our menu. We've got Japanese Wagu on our menu. Of course all of our steaks are USDA prime," he said.

Except for when it comes to some VIPs.

"I know Bob Baffert comes in four or five times this week he'll be in. He loves his beer can chicken. It's not even on the menu. It's just something we know he gets every time every year, so we prepare it for him," said Ruby.

It's that level of service that keeps the rich and famous coming back.

"When Derby ends on Saturday, we'll pretty much be booked up for next year's Derby," Ruby said.

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