7 Things I Learned at the Kentucky Derby
HORSEPLAY GETS VERY, VERY REAL
Think you can imagine every possible Derby-themed pun, hat and piece of merchandise? You’re wrong. Confectionariat, the life-size chocolate horse in the lobby of the Galt House Hotel, proves you wrong.
CELEBRITIES DO NOT BRING IT
I saw hats that were five feet in diameter, hats that had entire racetracks depicted, enormous hats that balanced the famous Twin Spires atop the person’s craninum. Kendra Wilkinson, Sarah Hyland, Lindsay Ellingson and Vanessa Lachey all chose to walk the red carpet in something slightly more demure. Oh well, their loss.
THERE IS NO LIMIT TO SAY YES TO THE DRESS PUNS
Longines (the official watch and timekeeper of the Derby – that’s Mikaela Shiffrin, Olympic Gold Medalist and the brand’s Elegance Ambassador modeling the goods) hosted a fashion contest for the first 200 ladies to enter. Alongside Shiffrin on the judge’s panel were Alicia Quarles from E! and Monte Durham, of Say Yes to the Dress, and if you think the emcee could not come up with many ways to make plays on the show’s title, you’d be wrong.
DRESSING FOR THE DERBY FROM AN N.Y.C. CLOSET IS A CHALLENGE
Did you know that you need not one, but two hats, for the two separate race days? Did you know one of the outfits is supposed to be pink? I had to call in reinforcements. Friday, I turned to the pros, enlisting Goorin Bros. for a fancy hat and event sponsor Vineyard Vines for a racing print dress. Saturday I dragged an old J.Crew dress out of my closet and added a Vineyard Vines hat. As you can tell, none of this came very naturally to me.
TARA AND JOHNNY TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY
We knew Tara Lipinski had some stylish looks up her sleeve thanks to our exclusive Kentucky Derby diary. But she didn’t mention that she’d be crafting a faux fascinator solely out of braids. And we had no inkling as to what her NBC Sports co-host Johnny Weir might wear – not that we could have prepared ourselves for this, anyway.
THERE IS SOMETHING BETTER THAN A MINT JULEP
It’s called an Oaks Lily, and it was described to me as a “more delicious Cosmo.” Whatever it is, I was feeling it. I was also surprised to learn that everyone gets this commemorative glass. Fun to collect, dangerous to drop in the bleachers!
THE TWIN SPIRES ARE ... TWINSPIRING
Churchill Downs is a major landmark in itself, but I didn’t realize just how impactful all that history and tradition would be. And even though I still don’t understand the first thing about horse racing, I won’t lie: I was out there shouting for American Pharoah just like everyone else. There’s a reason they call it the most exciting two minutes in sports!