No sports brings as much pageantry for an event that lasts as short as the two minutes it takes for the winning horse to cross the finish line and capture the run for the Roses.
The visible part of the pageantry is the hats. They run from the ridiculous to the sublime. Some women and even some men are obviously vying for attention, while others just want to look pretty.
This was definitely an interesting look. Definitely more of an accessory than for blocking out the sun.
These three beauties certainly seem to be enjoying themselves.
In addition to the hats, enjoying mint juleps and some other adult beverages are part of the atmosphere the first Saturday in May. Their hats definitely help block out the sun and go well with their beautiful dresses.
I am not exactly sure about this hat. It seems to be more about getting attention than being functional. I'd love to know where those feathers came from.
This guy took the running for the roses a bit too literally.
Bows seemed to be a big part of the hats this year. This woman had her hat matched perfectly to her dress and definitely seemed to be enjoying herself.
This look is definitely a bit different. The flowers on top of the hat almost match the yellow black-eyed susans for the Preakness. The curved hat and flowers on top are original.
No one captured the spirit of this year's Derby better than this gentleman. With the Kentucky Derby falling on Cinco De Mayo (May 5th) it gave Derby revelers two opportunities to celebrate. Having the Twin Spires on top of his Sombrero couldn't have shown that off better.
The green pastel and the flowers perfectly capture the signs of spring. This fits in perfectly with the Kentucky Derby as a rite of spring.
Most of the hats have seemed to be feathers or bows. This one makes a statement without going too over the top.
This woman is capturing the Derby spirit perfectly. In addition to her hat keeping the sun out of her face, her mint julep seems very refreshing, and she is learning about Derby history as well. The mint julep glass lists all the Derby winners on it.
This woman perfectly captures what a Derby hat should be. Elegant, classic and beautiful with a bow to accentuate it.
The sunglasses look modern, but the hat is very reminiscent of the beginning of the golden age of horse racing during the 1920s.
This picture perfectly captures the Kentucky Derby spirit. The bow and feather in the hat and wide brim are the perfect classic Kentucky Derby hat.
It's hard to tell if this woman is having any fun, but at least she's sporting the stylish hat.
But this one would have been more suited for ladies' day on Friday at the Kentucky Oaks. It's all about the pink on Friday at Churchhill Downs. The breast cancer survivor's parade and the fillies version of the Kentucky Derby would have made this one a winner on the first Friday in May.
The Kentucky Derby is about more than the race and festive atmosphere. Churchhill Downs and the Twin Spires are a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. This woman is wearing one of the more beautiful hats spotted, and with her camera is obviously enjoying and taking in all the Churchhill Downs has to offer.
These ladies are definitely enjoying themselves. It's nice to see a diverse age group all hanging out together and certainly being happy. They are all in the Kentucky Derby spirit with hats that make a statement.
Black-eyed susans are mostly yellow and the flower that represents the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness. The woman to the left should take her hat with her to Baltimore if she attends the Preakness.
Horse racing is a sport that fans of all ages can enjoy, and these young women are also in the spirit with hats that represent.
This hat is a beautiful, perfect look for the sport of kings. One of the reasons women wear the hats, though, is to keep the sun out of their face. This woman seems to be squinting as the hat definitely captures the look but doesn't seem to be doing its job.