Kiss rocker Gene Simmons during his Preakness experience. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun )
Preakness had its share of glitterati in attendance this year.
Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, and his wife — and "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" reality show co-star — Shannon Tweed hung out in the Jockey Club, while "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey made the circuit in the Corporate Village, looking dapper in a cream blazer and fedora.
Spacey's style was more on track than his handicapping. When caught at the betting window there, the actor was asked his pick in the next race (the No. 9). He said he picked the favorite, Samitar — who came in fourth.
"The Good Wife" star — and Baltimore native — Josh Charles made the Village scene with his dad, Alan Charles, a Baltimore advertising executive. The TV star wore a blue blazer over distressed jeans and sported chic chin stubble.
Charles, 41, said he has been coming to the race since he was a child but missed it last year because he was filming out of the country. "It's a great tradition. I love the ritual and the adrenalin rush," he said.
Charles was a guest in the Under Armour tent, along with the likes of celebrity chef Bobby Flay — seen eating a Maryland crab cake — and NBC newscaster Harry Smith and his wife, Andrea Joyce, of NBC Sports. This was Smith's first Preakness.
"We did a piece on [Under Armour founder/CEO] Kevin Plank for 'Rock Center,' and I don't think Kevin has ever met a stranger. So we've stayed in touch, and now I'm one of Kevin's 10,000 friends," Smith said with a laugh.
Bruce Flohr, a music executive who had flown in from Los Angeles for the event, echoed a similar sentiment.
"Kevin throws a party because he likes us, not because he wants our business," said the senior executive of Red Light Management, whose clients include the Dave Matthews Band.
Olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi was also there — now sporting a handsome set of silvery mutton chops along with his signature mustache.
Karolyi was just the tip of the sports celebrity iceberg floating in the Under Armour tent, where guests listened to the Steve Ports Trio, sampled cigars hand-rolled onsite and watched the race smack-dab against the track.
The recognizable names included Georges St-Pierre, mixed martial-arts star; LaVar Arrington, former NFL linebacker; Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers wide receiver; Greivis Vasquez, former Terp and now New Orleans Pelicans basketball player; Natasha Hastings, Olympic gold medalist; Scott Stallings, PGA professional golfer; Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle; Monica Hargrove, Olympic silver medalist; along with Maryland folks like Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver; Mark Turgeon, University of Maryland basketball coach; and Sasho Cirovski, University of Maryland soccer coach.
Gov. Martin O'Malley — in crab-themed tie — arrived at the Maryland tent just before the first afternoon shower hit. He had to make the rounds without his wife, Katie O'Malley, who was reportedly attending a daughter's graduation.
Folks in the Maryland tent also saw double, thanks to the identical twin financial advising team known for their appearances on national TV — Jonathan Murray, from Baltimore, and his brother, David Murray, from Detroit.
The duo also looked straight off the pages of Town & Country in blue blazers topping pink chinos on Jonathan Murray ("They're Nantucket reds") and orange pastel chinos on David Murray ("I call them creamsicles").