Each year at the Kentucky Derby and many other prestigious horse racing events, many fans like to wear horse racing hats. Both men and women have donned elegant, expensive hats for a day at the races. Horse racing hats for women have even become a spectacle of their own. There are specialty hat designers in Kentucky who charge thousands of dollars for a custom made horse racing hat.
Here is a closer look at the tradition. We will also offer some suggestions about hats that you may want to choose if you are thinking about venturing out to the live races. Of course, you can also wear your chosen hat when you make bets at your favorite online racebook.
History of Hats in Horse Racing
Horse racing has long been regarded as the Sport of Kings. There is no question that horse racing began as an activity for the wealthy. It took great money to own and provide the upkeep for race horses of the finest caliber. To some extent, this is still true today.
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The wealthiest people also were the best dressed. It only follows that those who were involved with horse racing were accustomed to the finest clothing, and that included hats. Both men and women have considered hats an important accessory when attending the horse races.
When Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. decided to create the spectacle that we know today as the Kentucky Derby, he also was inspired by the customs of dress that were upheld by the British people whenever they went for a day at the races. The tradition of wearing hats to the horse races is most likely a British one, but Colonel Clark is the one who likely deserves the credit for bringing it to the United States.
Styles of Horse Racing Hats
There are many different styles of horse racing hats that you might see when you visit a live race track. For men, the bowler and fedora have long been the preference of the American horse racing fan. The fedora has also been worn by many famous horse racing personalities. Here you can see one on Amazon but they have many more.
Trainer Frank Whiteley, Jr., the legendary conditioner of Ruffian, was fond of his fedora hat. Jack Van Berg was also known to wear one from time to time. He was more fond of the cowboy hat, a tradition that has also been practiced by D. Wayne Lukas. It was very common to see Lukas in a white cowboy hat, often of the Stetson brand, while he was actively training race horses.
One hat that you will see less frequently worn by men attending the horse races is the baseball cap. It is sometimes worn by the casual fan, but almost never by the more affluent racing patrons that can be found in the grandstand.
For women things are decidedly more complex. The hats worn by women to the races range from the modest to the grand. Indeed, some of the hats worn by women each year to the Kentucky Derby are productions that can take months to make. There are even contests held during Derby week to determine who has the best hat.
Some professional hat designers spend all year crafting their wares just so they can sell them on Kentucky Derby day. The cost of the hats can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Most of these hats are worn only once on the day of the Kentucky Derby, and they are then retired never to be worn again.
You may find this hard to believe but there are even museums in Kentucky that are devoted to the horse racing hat.
Superstition – Can a Horse Racing Hat Help You Win?
Horse racing is definitely a gambling game that encourages superstition. Some horse bettors swear by a lucky talisman or practice. It should come as no surprise that some handicappers regard their special hat as a type of good luck charm.
Can a hat help you win at horse racing? Some bettors swear that one can. This is probably because they were able to score a large win while wearing that hat. This is how many superstitions are born. People tend to try and duplicate any circumstances that existed when they cashed a large winning ticket.
You can test out the theory for yourself by signing up with one of our recommended online racebooks such as AmWager. Create your account, claim your bonus, and then choose a hat to wear at home while you make bets on the races. See what your outcomes are, but remember that there is no substitute for solid handicapping if you want to win.
Some online racebooks will give you a large welcome bonus when you sign up. You can bet right from the comfort of home with your computer, phone, or tablet.