Turning $2 into $27K on the amazing Zenyatta

As everybody knows, Zenyatta is the greatest thing to happen to Southern California racing since the Pick 6.

And her popularity is only rising. During the 2009 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes last year, 20,335 racetrackers showed up at Del Mar.

But after Zenyatta’s scintillating Breeder’s Cup Classic win at Santa Anita last November and her 17-for-17 record, undefeated Zenyatta went for number 18 before 32,536 people in Saturday’s running of the Hirsch.  And Big Z didn’t disappoint.

Although floated six paths wide on the turn, Zenyatta rallied into a brutally slow pace to prevail by a neck. Afterward, jockey Mike Smith paraded her up and down the front stretch, while tens of thousands of transfixed onlookers wildly applauded the 6-year-old mare from the Del Mar grandstand, YouTube videos showed.

The post-race celebration came together like a scripted scene from “Seabiscuit.” But it wasn’t.

It was reality.

Paris Hilton

In fact, Zenyatta has now become a celebrity on par with Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. Zenyatta won’t be hosting any night club openings in Vegas, but like Hilton and Kardashian, Zenyatta’s mere presence attracts huge crowds of exuberant followers.

With the victory, owner Jerry Moss pocketed another $180,000 to bring Zenyatta’s career earnings to $6.25 million. But what about the betting public? Can they make any money by betting Zenyatta?

It seems the logical answer is “not much” because Zenyatta’s odds return so little to winners. But Del Mar’s morning line maker Russell Hudak figured out that a measly $2 parlay of Zenyatta’s 18 victories would have returned $27,248.28.

Of course, whoever had this kind of amazing foresight into Zenyatta’s career would also need to be wired with nerves of steel. That’s because the Zenyatta parlay would have required that the bettor plunk down $24,768 before Saturday’s win.

Indeed, the concept of compound interest is so powerful it has turned teenagers with nothing into billionaires by age 60. And I’m sure that even investor Warren Buffett would be one of Zenyatta’s biggest fans if the horse helped him roll $2 into $27K.

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Partying Paris jets off to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby

Paris Hilton, left, and Kim Kardashian will both be hosting Ky Derby parties

Paris Hilton, left, and Kim Kardashian will both be hosting Ky Derby parties

The party never really starts until Paris Hilton arrives.

And with the Kentucky Derby just eight days away, it’s no surprise she’ll be in Louisville living it up with other famous people who have nothing to do with horse racing.

Hilton will be going to the Barnstable-Brown Derby Eve Gala, which is known as one of the top 10 parties in the world, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal’s website. The celebrity packed function is held every year at the Louisville home of Patricia Barnstable-Brown, and the 21st annual gala held on May 1 raises money to benefit diabetes research.

Afterward, Hilton and her boyfriend Doug Reinhardt will host the official Barnstable-Brown after-party at The Sports and Social Club in Louisville.

“With Paris and Doug adding to this year’s celebrity lineup, this party’s sure to be talked about for years to come. Paris Hilton will definitely be one of the hottest fillies in Kentucky,” said Barnstable-Brown in a news release.

Ky Derby Festival includes parties, parties, parties

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Fabulous Kim Kardashian to host Derby Spectacular

The Kentucky Derby is much more than just a horse race.

During the week leading up to the greatest two minutes in sports, the city of Louisville throws the Kentucky Derby Festival, which includes a hot air balloon race, a steam boat challenge, a marathon, fireworks and lots and lots of parties.

Every year these events bring out sports and entertainment celebrites to rock the Derby. Yes, the pretty people will soon descend on Louisville to give us their opinions on nothing we truly care about. But they are sure to look good doing it.

And for at least one day of the year — Derby Day at Churchill Downs — it will be difficult finding all those guys named Vinnie who usually populate racetracks, walking around with their racing forms rolled up in their back pockets. And those pudgy,  cigar chompers named Louie or Charlie will be replaced for the day by svelte Generation X’ers and Y’s wearing sports coats, designer sun glasses and plenty of hair gel.

And the women at the Derby — who in the past included Jessica Simpson, Heidi Montag, Holly Madison and Bo Derek — are sure to be dressed to the nines.

Anyway, these days celebs are being paid big bucks to host parties. Usually it’s popular party girls like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and the like. They collect tens of thousands of dollars to show up, blow kisses to their admirers then sway to the music from behind the velvet VIP ropes. Sometimes they stay for an hour, and maybe even two if they’re really having fun.

That’s because fabulous people always have better places to go, so they can’t stay anywhere too long.

This year, TV’s Kim Kardashian is hosting the Derby Spectacular on May 1 at Glassworks in Louisville. If you want to go, tickets are $150, but to increase you chances of actually seeing Kim — and to avoid the line out front — you might want to consider peeling off a couple of hundred more for the $350 VIP status.

However, as a VIP you are important, but not quite that important. Because at Glassworks they have Ultra VIP. As an Ultra VIP, you pay $750, but get access to the first three floors, the rooftop and the Loft Blue celebrity lounge.

Yep, hanging out with fabulous people is expensive. And if you plan to go to Glassworks, my advice is not to buy too many drinks.

Because it’s tough to bet on the Kentucky Derby when your pockets are empty.

A model, Kardashian is also an E! Channel reality star

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