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Celebrities mingle, watch and wager at Preakness

A Victoria's Secret supermodel, a two-time Academy Award-winning actor and a Heisman Trophy winner were just a few of the many celebrities and notable people who attended the 142nd Preakness.

In Under Armour's fifth year hosting a large tent and Pimlico owner the Stronach Group's second entertaining in a cozy "chalet," the annual horse race drew a diverse crowd of famous faces looking to indulge in fashion, food and camaraderie.

Actor Kevin Spacey made his rounds through the Stronach Group tent, stopping occasionally to indulge requests for photos. Nearby in an ultra-VIP section of the tent, Victoria's Secret supermodel Josephine Skriver was sporting an all-neutral look and an oversize hat — a mix of her own style with reference to classic Preakness fashion, she said. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick mingled in the Stronach Group tent in the early afternoon.

For Belinda Stronach, the president and chairman of the Stronach Group, it was a family affair. Her father, company founder Frank Stronach, son DJ Frank Walker and daughter Nicole Walker were also in attendance.

"The tent is even better this year, and the weather is better, so that's awesome," Nicole Walker, an equestrian, said. "We set the bar high last year, but I know it's going to be a good day today. ... Usually I'm in riding clothes. For once I'm not on the horse, so I can dress up a little more."

Meanwhile, the Infield's Corporate Village received a busload of notables, including former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams, former Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and sports analyst and former NFL coach Herman Edwards, who made their way to the Under Armour tent in a parade-like fashion.

"I love the tradition," Rawlings-Blake said. It's one of the biggest events for the city, and I'm a big city-booster, so I wouldn't miss it."

The Under Armour tent, which featured a live DJ, was popular among attending athletes, including Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis, Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, and former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, who now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Smith said he was drawn by the food and the camaraderie.

"It's always a great time for me to catch up with a lot my friends, especially my folks in Maryland ... and to learn about the horses and try to bet a little bit, even though I'm terrible," he said.

Several of Smith's former teammates, including Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, were also spotted at the race.

Thomas, who was decked out in a dapper blue jacket and paisley blue-and-white pants, said he was excited to be at the Preakness for the first time with some of his colleagues.

"Under Armour got me hip," he said. Betting was on the agenda, but he was undecided on a horse.

"I don't know what I'm doing, so I don't know yet," Thomas said, but the one thing he was sure of was his outfit: "I'm good at picking my suits out."

Olympian and indoor volleyball player Kelsey Robinson, who recently signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour, also said it was her first time at the horse race.

"Everybody in the hats and the dresses has been really fun to watch," she said, adding that she had been people watching. "The pre-Preakness at Sagamore Farms was unreal."

But for other notables, horse racing was the main draw.

After their performance, Chris Lucas and Preston Brust of country band LoCash, were feeling lucky.

"We're going to show up whoever wins," said Lucas, who called himself a "Preakness virgin." He bet on Classic Empire, while Brust put his money on Multiplier.

"We're LoCash, so we understand what it means to lose money and win money," Lucas said.

Mayor Catherine Pugh arrived to the Corporate Village fashionably late in a black-and-yellow feathered hat by designer Christine A. Moore, but with the main event yet to come, the festivities were far from over.

bbritto@baltsun.com

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