I’ve never been a fan of horse racing, but I am a fan of sports in general. So if the Big Browns of the racing world are going for the Triple Crown, I’ll keep an eye out. That being said, I’ve always been somewhat fascinated with the Kentucky Derby. The pageantry and grand scale of the event is probably unlike any other annual event in the United States.
During tough economic times like this, I couldn’t help but wonder what that would mean for the Derby (especially since the company that owns Pimlico (Preakness) just recently filed for bankruptcy). Bill Simmons, one of my favorite ESPN columnists, wrote an article in February about the toned-down feel of this year’s NBA All Star weekend. He attributed much of the lack of celebrity and extravagant spending to the state of our economy.
Curious about how this recession could effect the Kentucky Derby, I looked for some insight from famed hat designer Christine A. Moore. Christine has been designing and making Derby-style hats for over 15 years, and has been commissioned as the official milliner for this year’s Derby. To my surprise, Christine told me that designer hats were still in demand, corporate boxes are on a waiting list at Churchill Downs, and individual ticket sales were strong. Louisville’s major fashion magazine, Her Scene, even added 17 more pages to accommodate for all the advertisers!
After thinking about what she said, it makes a lot of sense. What’s a better way to step outside yourself for one day than to get dressed up and enjoy the pageantry of the Derby? People who celebrate the Derby year after year have been saving up money for their outfit and hat. If you can’t afford to go to the Derby (most people can’t!), Derby parties are always a fun thing to put together.
So men, grab a straw boater, fedora, or top hat. Women, don the beautiful big brims and classic cloches. Get some appetizers, fix a couple of mint juleps (4 mint sprigs, 2 1/2oz bourbon whiskey, 1 tsp powder sugar, and 2 tsp water), and enjoy the races!