Kentucky Derby Look Just As Crucial And Costly As Kentucky Derby Pick Wagers

The gates will open for the 148th Kentucky Derby on Saturday and the usual full field of 3 year-old horses will battle out for supremacy in the mile and one quarter contest, but there’s much more at stake than just attempting to decipher the outcome. 

What do we wear? How do the ladies go about making their impression on the social event of the season? After all, this isn’t a chilly race day at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York or even the beachy digs of Florida racing’s winter home, Gulfstream Park.

Research reveals the average Kentucky Derby racegoer invests as much in perfecting a look to display at the racetrack as they do in backing a pony in the featured equine battle. As foreign as it may seem to the average pundit, appearance carries equal weight to some as the potential to profit.

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At his morning line price, the proceeds of a $20 win wager on favored ZANDON wouldn’t cover the cost of the average men’s suit ($86.15) worn to the bash held on the first Saturday in May, while completing the attire with a hat and footwear sets the wallet back another $80 bucks. Factoring in the cost of walking in the Churchill Downs admission gate ($85) will have most looking for a longshot such as CHARGE IT to lead the others to the wire in hopes of making the pocket whole.

While undoubtedly looking significantly more stylish than their male counterpart attendees, the ladies surprisingly encounter less costly options in making their splash. A Derby dress comes in at an average cost of just $26.74, merely 31% of the amount needed to clothe a man.

She’ll also be skipping along in footwear that on average costs 12% less ($49.05) than a pair for her gentleman. Add in a festive hat at $25.53 and complete the look with a handbag for $26.25 and the ladies will save a total of 23% before looking to make their way into the grounds. 

With average per capita wagering at Churchill Downs over the past few pre-pandemic years near the $160 mark, it is quite evident that fashion doesn’t take a back seat to the possibility of turning a profit on Horse Racing’s biggest day, but that won’t keep horseplayers from gambling that other serious contenders such as EPICENTER and MESSIER will have their running shoes on.  

While looks can often prove deceiving, I’ll certainly be betting my hat that TAIBA overcomes his lack of experience to power away from his rivals to earn the blanket of roses in the Churchill Downs winner’s circle early Saturday evening, but the promise of an exhilarating stretch run from 20 young thoroughbreds and the sights and sounds of all attending what’s been billed as the ‘greatest 2 minutes in sports’ is what truly fuels the perception of everyone’s sense of value.

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Photo by Aliaksandr Yuryeu