2019 Kentucky Derby Horses and Their Celebrity Counterparts

Pop Culture
Tom Hanks, star of the classic World War II film ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ is the perfect human celebrity to represent 2019 Kentucky Derby contender Omaha Beach. (Coady Photography/Wikimedia Commons)

On the first Saturday in May, 20 Thoroughbreds will line up in the gates for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. So we asked ourselves: which human celebrities match up with the biggest stars in horse racing? Our equine equivalents are below!


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1. Tacitus = Russell Crowe

Tacitus was a senator and historian of the Roman Empire; so who better to be his human equivalent than the Gladiator himself, Russell Crowe?


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2. Omaha Beach = Tom Hanks

Omaha Beach is named for the setting of the allied D-Day invasion that is considered to be the turning point in World War II, and that’s why we chose Tom Hanks to represent this Kentucky Derby contender. After all, Hanks was incredible in the movie Saving Private Ryan, which is partially set on Omaha Beach during the Normandy landings.


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3. Vekoma = Famke Janssen

Vekoma was named for a famed Dutch roller coaster manufacturer, so we chose the original Jean Grey/Phoenix, Dutch-born actress and screenwriter Famke Janssen, as Vekoma’s human equivalent.


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4. Plus Que Parfait = Marion Cotillard

Plus que parfait is the French term for the pluperfect in grammar, so we thought Marion Cotillard was the perfect human doppelganger for the Derby contender; after all, not only was the French actress in Inception (which seems like a pretty good film version of an action that had been completed before another past action took place) but her parents were both teachers.


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5. Roadster = Kyle Busch

Who better to rep Roadster than NASCAR superstar Kyle Busch? Both have the need for speed, and (much like Roadster) Kyle Busch is very familiar with winning races.


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6. By My Standards = Beyoncé

Who has higher standards than Beyoncé? We all know that if you don’t get in formation then everything you own is in a box to the left.


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7. Maximum Security = Richard Madden

Richard Madden played the title role in the BBC’s hit serial drama “Bodyguard” last year… and let’s face it: his other major role, Robb Starke, could have used better security around him before his wedding. :-(


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8. Game Winner = Steph Curry

When the Golden State Warriors need a win, superstar Steph Curry steps up; plus, he holds the record for being the all-time leading scorer in Davidson College history before he went pro. That makes him the perfect celebrity representative for 2018’s champion juvenile male and 2019 Kentucky Derby top prospect Game Winner!


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9. Code of Honor = Dakota Meyer

Dakota Meyer embodies the idea of honor: after all, the Kentucky native received the Medal of Honor for his valor in the Battle of Ganjgal.


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10. Haikal = Jude Law

So, a haikal is the a sanctuary of a Coptic church cut off from the nave by a screen and containing three altars (thanks, Merriam-Webster!), and that means that “The Young Pope” himself is the perfect human to represent this Kentucky Derby contender.


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11. Improbable = all of the Columbus Blue Jackets

This one is pretty self-explanatory: the Columbus Blue Jackets recently swept the #1 seed Tampa Bay Lightning in what is considered to be one of the most improbable upsets in NHL history.


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12. War of Will = Will Smith

Who better to represent War of Will than Will Smith, the man who has protected Earth from intergalactic attack in Independence Day and the Men in Black movies?


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13. Long Range Toddy = Adam Sandler

There is one golfer who is a long range specialist, and that is Happy Gilmore from Happy Gilmore. Therefore, Adam Sandler gets the nod for Long Range Toddy. Just tap it in!


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14. Tax = Donald Trump

Taxes are at the top of the news these days; and Donald Trump has become synonymous with the term as taxes were a focal point of his campaign and a subject of controversy surrounding his presidency.


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15. Cutting Humor = Ali Wong

Ali Wong is one of the funniest comedians working right now, and her sets are hilarious, sarcastic, and the perfect embodiment of Cutting Humor.


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16. Win Win Win = DJ Khaled

If you don’t immediately get “All I Do Is Win” stuck in your head after hearing Win Win Win’s name, you’re missing out on a huge key to life.


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17. Country House = Lil Nas X

Country music made headlines this spring thanks to one man: Lil Nas X, who recorded the stone cold groove “Old Town Road,” which just happens to be about horses. He’s the perfect counterpart for Kentucky Derby contender Country House!


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18. Gray Magician = Ian McKellen

When we think of grey magicians, there is only one Gandalf the Grey: Sir Ian McKellen. Who better to represent this Kentucky Derby contender than Middle Earth’s most powerful wizard?


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19. Spinoff = KYGO

If you’re looking for the human counterpart to Derby hopeful Spinoff, look no further than superstar DJ KYGO. The man spins records across the globe at sold-out shows, so he’s the ideal counterpart to a horse who’s going to be on America’s biggest sporting stage on May 4.


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20. Master Fencer = Mark Zuckerberg

You may have heard of Mark Zuckerberg because of that little social media site he started; what you might not know is that he’s also a dedicated fencer and was even the fencing captain at Phillips Exeter Academy while he was in high school. Therefore, he gets to be the human embodiment of Master Fencer.

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