I was so excited that I got to share my Kentucky Derby dress early with you all because it was on sale! But I wanted to make sure I did a full post on the outfit, give a couple other options and I also wanted to give the background on why I love the races, plus some helpful tips if you’re new to horse racing. The 143rd Kentucky Derby is Saturday May 6th, so you still have some time to shop! Let’s start with the outfit!
Ahh, I just cannot get enough of this look. It’s so outside the box for me. I love playing dress up but don’t do it all that much anymore so it was so fun to set up this look. Here are the links to shop this look.
I am so bummed that I’m not going to the actual Kentucky Derby but it’s fun to dress up and throw or attend a little derby party and this look is perfect for that too. I also want to say that I will be wearing this dress to my cousin’s wedding this summer and it’s even perfect for a bridal shower/engagement party/etc. So versatile and so unique and pretty. The heels are my favorite, I have them in 3 colors and they are just so comfy and classic. Worth the investment I promise.
Now if you’re not familiar with horse racing I want to give you a little info to have before the Kentucky Derby (or any race for that matter). I grew up in Del Mar, where the famous Del Mar Racetrack is located. My grandfather was a huge fan of horse racing so I started going really young with my own dad and my grandfather. I’d head to the paddock and look at the horses before the race, tell me dad my favorite and my dad would place a $2 bet on whichever one I picked. It was so fun and I just remember the thrill of the race and the incredible beauty of the horses. I also recall sometimes being swayed by the jockey and if I liked their uniform or not.
If you’ve never been, here are the basics.
1. Types of races
On any given day at the track there are several different kinds of races that can occur.
Maiden: A race for horses that have not yet won a race.
Claiming: A race where all of the horses are for sale.
Allowance: A step up from a claiming race, these horses are not for sale and generally the purse is much higher. The allowance name comes from the fact that the races will have set conditions and weights to carry.
Stakes: The top horses race in stakes races. They have the highest purses and carry the most prestige for winning. The Kentucky Derby is a stakes race.
2. Types of bets
Win: Your horse must finish 1st.
Place: Your horse must finish 1st or 2nd.
Show: Your horse must finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd.
Exacta: Your horses must finish 1st and 2nd in the exact order you bet.
Trifecta: Your horses must finish in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the exact order that you bet.
Superfecta: Your horses must finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the exact order you bet.
Daily Double: Your horses must win in two consecutive races.
Pick 3/4/6: Your horse must win in 3/4/6 consecutive races.
*There are many other variations but these are the basics. And here’s exactly what to say when you place your bet if you want, let’s say an exacta.
“Hi, (racetrack name), 3rd race, $2 exacta on 4 and 9. Thank you.”
**make sure to always check your ticket for accuracy.
3. Things to look at while picking a horse
Track: Some horses are turf horses and some are dirt horses. And some horses prefer a wet track to a dry track. You must take the track conditions into consideration.
Distance: You should look at how the horse does at different distances.
Layoffs: A layoff means a horse hasn’t raced in 45 days. If the horse’s last race was coming off a layoff its likely he will improve in this race.
Odds: Check the morning odds. Most horses that win are less than 20-1. Horses with high morning line odds rarely win.
Speed: Check the speed of the horse in the past races, but you have to check the race type. For example a horse may post in the 70s for most of the races and then put up a 90. That 90 most likely came against better competition. Horses will often run to their competition, so check who he’s against in this race as closely as the races where he put up high-speed finishes.
Workouts: Workouts are an extremely important gauge of the horse’s ability. If horses are similar check who’s workouts currently are going best.
4. Jockey info
It’s believed that a jockey contributes about 10% to the horse’s performance on any given day. The jockey cannot make a horse run faster, but it can give the horse a bad ride. Paying close attention to win percentage, past performance on specific horses and jockey changes can help you when placing bets.
I know I covered what to wear to the Kentucky Derby but most tracks are casual unless it’s a big race. The general fashion rule is Opening Day and Stakes Races are an opportunity to dress up and go all out. Otherwise, I wear a little sundress or even something as casual as jean shorts and a tee in the summers. If you’ve never been to a horse race, I highly recommend it. It’s a blast.
If you’re headed to a Derby party and are looking for something a little more out there and fun, you can try this hilarious dress or suit. Love, so fun!