Scenes From the Kentucky Derby

There’s always plenty to look at at the Kentucky Derby. The annual event brings out fans of horseracing and big hats to Churchill Downs for a special day where peacocking is also an attention-grabbing sport.

This year the winner, a 80-1 upset, stole all the headlines. A horse named Rich Strike shocked the crowd when he and jockey Sonny Leon pulled past frontrunners Epicenter and Zandon, after entering the race at the last minute. According to the official website, he is the second biggest longshot in the Derby’s history, falling short of a record that was set in 1913. Everyone loves an underdog story, and Leon and Rich Strike delivered. 

The more expected story out of Churchill Downs was the fashion. Though the dress code remains the same year after year, the variations in the hats are endlessly entertaining. It’s the only place where a magenta fascinator with feather details seems a bit normcore. An adorable family coordinated with straw fedoras, tweed jackets, and designer bags. One woman chose a Barbie pink hat shaped like a blooming flower. Another painted herself green and dressed from head to toe in fake roses. With rain in the forecast, guests also guarded their dramatic toppers with plastic bags. The confections must be protected! But perhaps the best fashion statement our photographer Lili Kobielski captured was a pair of fringed leather chaps worn by a rider. Giddy up.

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