Kentucky Derby 2021 fashion: Hats, outfit ideas, what to wear, latest styles, trends

Kentucky Derby 2021 fashion: Outfit ideas, latest styles, trends, hats
Jim Owens-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

The very first Kentucky Derby was inspired by top-tier races in England and France, so it’s no surprise that the upscale dress codes of European horse racing also came across the pond with Derby creator Meriwether Lewis Clark (the grandson of William Clark, as in Lewis and Clark).

In the early days of the Derby, Gilded Age styles were front and center, including corsets and long dresses for women. Hats were seen as a status symbol, and the tradition of wearing lavished hats continues to this day from elegant fascinators to wild, themed hats.

Fashion trends at the Kentucky Derby continued to follow whatever was the latest and greatest style in the U.S. at the time, from more simple attire throughout the Great Depression to glamorous outfits in a post-war America ready to party.

Related: What to know about the Kentucky Derby

Today, the more unique your fit, the better. Bright colors, bold prints and innovative designs are all the rage, and hats and fascinators are still front and center.

“The Kentucky Derby is such an iconic American event where fashion, fun, sports and tradition meet,” says Shep Murray, co-founder of Vineyard Vines, the official style of the Run for the Roses for over a decade.

Ian Murray, the other co-founder behind Vineyard Vines, says that while styles at the Derby tend to be timeless and classic, he’s noticed a welcomed increase in vibrant prints, especially within men’s fashion. He’s also seen a growing demand for more versatile clothing, from dresses that can be worn to events long after the Derby to sports coats with an emphasis on performance and comfort.

The 2021 Kentucky Derby will air on May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. Post time for the 2021 Kentucky Derby is set for approximately 6:57 p.m. ET.

Related: How to watch the 2021 Kentucky Derby

Women’s styles for the Kentucky Derby

Bright and colorful outfits have been the norm for women at the Derby for years now. So whether you’re making the trip to Louisville or celebrating from your house, look for exciting prints that scream spring and summer.

Keep the warm weather in mind (Saturday’s forecast in Louisville is a sunny 73) when picking a fit and material weight. Go for a classic dress or buck tradition with a romper or suit.

Vineyard Vines’ Shep Murray says their gingham floral dress, which combines a summery gingham in pastel blue with a floral pattern reminiscent of the Derby’s garland of roses, is one of their biggest sellers.

Men’s styles for the Kentucky Derby

Men’s fashion at the Kentucky Derby range from casual to formal to flashy. A popular look is dressy pants, a vibrant shirt or sport coat and fun accents like sunglasses or bold bowties, but anything goes on the First Saturday in May.

Derby styles for men have trended towards loud prints, which is something the Murray brothers have championed throughout the years with Vineyard Vines’ signature blazers and ties.

If you can’t make it to the store in time for the mane event, take a spin through your closet and upcycle your own outfit. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take a risk with breezy pastels or bright colors.

Related: Enter to win a #DerbyAtHome Mint Julep kit

Kids’ styles for the Kentucky Derby

Keep the kids festive yet cool with summery styles like patterned dresses and shorts. Like the adults, pastels and vibrant colors make for great Derby outfits. You also can’t go wrong with sporting matching styles on one of the biggest fashion days of the year. If junior is too young for a Derby-caliber hat, opt for a headband or child’s baseball cap for a winning combo of style and sensibility.

Hats

The Kentucky Derby is synonymous with colorful and creative hats and fascinators. Make your own at home using an old hat or headband and whatever materials around the house inspire you, like NBC Sports’ DIY Paper Flower Fascinator.

If you’re pressed for time or creativity (hey, no judgement), there are also many options available online. The Spring 2021 line from Kentucky Derby 147 Featured Milliner Christine A. Moore Millinery includes an array of hats and fascinators in neutrals, reds, pinks and cool tones.

Related: Recipes for traditional Kentucky Derby foods

Oaks Day

From pink suits, dresses and hats to pink trim or accents, pinks of all shades dominate at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day (Friday, April 30, 12-6 p.m. ET, NBCSN) when a field of fillies compete in the marquee race of the day.

Those who think their pink styles out-do the rest can enter the Longiness Fashion Contest, which will be virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from celebrating the female horses running in the Oaks, the day is also dedicated to raising awareness about breast and ovarian cancer (including the Survivors Parade, made up of breast and ovarian cancer survivors) and fundraising for charities.

Related: Recipes for traditional Mint Julep and other Kentucky Derby drinks

Watch the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Full coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Newgate wins Robert B. Lewis Stakes; Baffert runs 1-2-3-4

0 Comments

ARCADIA, Calif. — Newgate won the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes by a neck, with Bob Baffert as the trainer of all four horses in the Kentucky Derby prep race at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Newgate ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.11 and paid $4 and $2.60 as the even-money favorite. There was no show wagering because of the field size.

Hard to Figure returned $5.20 at 12-1 odds. Worcester was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Arabian Lion was fourth.

“So much improvement in all these horses,” Baffert said. “I was actually nervous before the race, worried that something weird might happen, but I can relax now.”

The Lewis was a Kentucky Derby prep race, but no points were awarded because Baffert has been banned for two years by Churchill Downs Inc. The Hall of Fame trainer was in Louisville to testify in federal court as he seeks a temporary injunction to end the suspension, which runs through the end of the upcoming spring meet. It was meted out following a failed drug test by Medina Spirit after the colt finished first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Newgate earned his first graded stakes victory. The colt was second, beaten by a neck in the Sham Stakes last month in his previous start.

“Frankie Dettori has been teaching him how to just sit back, relax and come with a punch and that’s what he did today,” Baffert said.

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Newgate’s career earnings to $241,975, with two wins in six starts.

Baffert: 2-year Churchill Downs suspension hurt reputation

bob baffert
Sam Upshaw Jr./USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs never gave advance notice nor reached out to explain its two-year suspension, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said in federal court, and reiterated that the penalty has caused irreparable harm to his business and reputation.

Baffert has sued the historic track and is seeking a temporary injunction to stop his suspension following a failed drug test by the now-deceased Medina Spirit after the colt came in first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

The suspension for a series of failed tests by his horses runs through the end of the upcoming spring meet and could exclude Baffert from the Derby for a second consecutive spring.

Almost a year ago, Kentucky racing officials disqualified Medina Spirit and suspended Baffert for 90 days for those failed tests. Churchill Downs elevated Derby runner-up Mandaloun to winner.

“They’ve hurt my reputation,” Baffert said during nearly two hours of testimony in U.S. District Court. “My horses should’ve made much more money. I didn’t run for 90 days, and I had to let people go.”

Churchill Downs wants the case dismissed, citing nine failed tests by Baffert-trained horses as justification for disciplining horse racing’s most visible figure. The list of violators includes 2020 Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher Gamine, who was ultimately disqualified.

Medina Spirit failed his test for having in his system the corticosteroid betamethasone, which Baffert and attorney Clark Brewster have argued came from an ointment rather than an injection.

Track president Mike Anderson said the decision by Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen stemmed from Baffert’s “refusal to take responsibility for repeat violations” during a news conference at his backside barn after Medina Spirit’s failed test was revealed.

“We wanted to make a statement that this was a consequence of not doing the right thing,” Anderson said.

Attorneys Matt Benjamin and Christine Demana, who are representing Churchill Downs, also disputed Baffert’s contention that business has suffered by noting his latest crop of promising 3-year-old colts on this year’s Derby trail.

One of them, Arabian Knight, won last week’s Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn by 5+ lengths to give Baffert his record sixth win in the race. The horse is ineligible to earn Kentucky Derby qualifying points as the winner because of Baffert’s suspension.

A slide presented also showed that Baffert horses made 477 starts from May 10, 2021, through December 2022 and won marquee races such as the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Corniche, the Eclipse winner) along with Grade 1 wins in the Pennsylvania Derby and Malibu Stakes (Taiba).

Friday’s 3 1/2-hour hearing followed four hours of testimony on Thursday. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings gave no indication when she would rule. But Brewster said he expects a decision “within several days.”

Baffert testified that he had had a good relationship with Churchill Downs, though he noted that he was paying for his seats at the track and having to “grovel” to get them. He also insisted that he tried to be a good ambassador for horse racing, especially after American Pharoah and Justify won the Triple Crown in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

“I think today was great because I finally got to tell my story in a nonbiased atmosphere,” he said. “I hope for the best, and hopefully we’ll be here.”