LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Each spring, Churchill Downs becomes a playground for the rich and famous - making star gazing as popular as handicapping horses in the Kentucky Derby. This year's lineup of celebrities attending the Run for the Roses will be trumped by royalty.
The venerable track was preparing the royal treatment for its most famous guest - Queen Elizabeth II.
The British monarch, an avid horse enthusiast, will attend her first Derby on Saturday - adding another chapter to a race steeped in tradition in a sport where bloodlines are valued.
"It says something about the Derby that it has universal appeal from the royals to us regular folks," said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. "Louisville shines on Derby Day."
It wasn't just the horses that were preparing this week for the big event.
A number of track workers attended etiquette class to avoid any social faux pas when in the queen's presence. The track's executive chef planned a sumptuous Southern-style meal featuring some Kentucky favorites.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)