“I remember the first year we had it Buck Henry was the only celebrity,” said Dale Barnstable, of the weekend’s most prestigious event, the Barnstable Brown Foundation gala, hosted by his daughters Cyb and Tricia. “Now so many celebrities want to come, they have to cut off the list.”
“I’ve been doing this for 19 years and it gets better every year,” said Cyb Barnstable without moving her collagen-enhanced lips. The former Wrigley’s “Doublemint Twin” wore a gem-encrusted turquoise strapless gown, which eventuated her impossibly youthful bust.
“The celebs keep coming back and they sing and they pitch in, and they know the routine,” Mrs. Barnstable Brown labored on.
This year Eddie Money and the rapper Run DMC had performed. Among those who had attended were Gene Simmons, Kid Rock, Jenny McCarthy, footballers Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Did all the focus on celebrity and money take away from the authenticity of the gala, as a representation of Louisville society?
Mrs. Barnstable Brown’s eyes seemed to glaze over. “The Derby is an international event,” she said.
Adorning her arm was Mr. Birkhead, a native Louisvillian. Four years ago, at this very party, he had met Anna Nicole Smith.
“It’s kind of weird to be back at this party,” he said. “Kind of full circle.”
He said their child Daniel-Lynn was “doing great. She’s teething. Everything’s great. She got a Derby outfit with a pink
hat. It’s great.”
He wasn’t planning to bet on the Derby, but he had bet on a horse earlier that day.
“There was a horse called 'Dreaming of Anna,'" he said. “I bet on it for sentimental reasons.”
Larry Florman, a Louisville doctor, and his wife, were observing the crowd under the giant tent in the backyard.
“It’s been celebrity-driven ever since I’ve been coming,” said Dr. Florman, who’s been in attendance for over a decade. “But I have to say this year we really don’t recognize anybody here, whereas in years past I did.”
Positing a reason why, he said, “It’s become very expensive.”
A ticket for this year’s ball ranged from $850 to $2,000, depending on whether or not you wanted a seat.
Dr. Florman was planning to attend and bet on the Derby. “Curlin all the way,” he said.
Kid love the slop?
“What?” he said.
Next stop: the Stuff magazine party!