Kentucky Derby: History and Fashion

Lets go to the Derby!

The History of the Derby

The Kentucky Derby is much more than just a sporting event. On the first Saturday in May, celebrities flock to the most popular throughbred race in the U.S. in stylish fashion to enjoy mint juleps, Southern food, betting and so much more. For more than 139 years, people from all over the country have made their way to Louisville to take part in this American tradition.

The Kentucky Derby was founded in 1875 by Meriwether Lewis Clark and is the first of the Triple Crown series; the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes follow. Approximately 80,000 people flock to Churchill Downs each year to see "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports."

The Horses of the Derby

The owners, trainers and jockeys who win the Derby are given a purse of $2 million and a gold trophy thats estimated worth is $100,000. The official flower of the Derby is a red rose and the winning horse has been given a stunning garland of them every year since 1932. In 1972, the fastest time was 1:59.40 minutes by the famous Secretariat. Although 39 fillies have run in the Derby, only three have ever won: Winning Colors in 1988, Genuine Risk in 1980 and Regret in 1915.

Derby Fashion

The Derby and fashion go hand-in-hand - there is even a red carpet here. This dates back to when Clark encouraged his wife and other high-society women wear thier finest frocks. The result was the beginning of the Derby fashion tradition.

Wearing a hat to the Derby is considered good luck. Women have been wearing fashion forward, custom hats since the 1940s​ - and the bigger the better. The most popular style of hats for women is known as the "Southern Belle." Men also wear hats, which are typically 1920s​-style bowler hats.

Also popular at the race are fascinators, which were made famous during the U.K.'s recent Royal Wedding. They're projected to be an even bigger trend for the ladies attending the Derby in 2014.


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