The Kentucky Derby, better known as the “Run for Roses” or “the most exciting two-minutes in sports,” is the most famous event in the world of horse racing. Some like the fact that they get to take their minds off their day-to-day routines, while others would rather go all out by getting all dolled up  with extravagant fashion and style. The history of the Kentucky Derby starts in 1875 when the inaugural race was held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The establishment of the derby was motivated by the famous horse races in Europe and it was brilliantly done by Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. The first-ever Kentucky Derby was a huge success, recording about 10,000 proud spectators.

With the passage of time, the Kentucky Derby has evolved into a nationally televised event and an excellent show that captivates the attention of spectators. It is the initial step in the American Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, which also comprises both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. And of course, the race has also come to be a social and fashion event, with spectators in their finest clothes engaging in various traditional activities such as drinking mint juleps and wearing lavish hats.

The Kentucky Derby has continued to gain more popularity every year, from A-list celebrities, professional athletes, politicians, and even the royal families have been spotted at this event. The race is a kind of America’s cultural representative, as the winner becomes an instant celebrity. So, if you are interested in the Derby or the Derby days, Churchill Downs, or something in between, we’ve got you covered. Here is our 2024 Kentucky Derby days guide.

Kentucky Derby fashion

The Kentucky Derby showcases unique American fashion and traditions, with attendees donning flamboyant hats, spring dresses, bow ties, and seersucker suits. Whether attending the event or a Derby party, it’s essential to outfit yourself accordingly as the 149th year approaches.

Dress code guidelines;

Churchill Downs has an official dress code depending on your seating area. First-time attendees should understand the environment of their seats before deciding what to wear. Here’s a brief breakdown of the dress codes for seated boxes:

  • Business casual dress is required in the Turf Club, Trophy Room, and Millionaires Row.
  • A jacket is required in the Derby Room and The Mansion for men.
  • Worn or torn garments, halter tops, athletic wear, frayed or torn denim, and midriff tops are considered inappropriate attire in several areas.

For more information on what is appropriate in each section of the track, visit the Churchill Downs website.

Men’s Kentucky Derby fashion

The Kentucky Derby is an occasion for everyone to show off their finest attire, notably the hats, but for men to look sharp as well. Here are some tips for the perfect Kentucky Derby outfit for men:

  1. Pants:
    Sun-drenched pants in vibrant colors like lime green, ocean blue, soft pink, and citron are all popular choices. These colors are eye-catching from a distance and can be paired with the right shirt and blazer to make a statement.
  2. Shirts:
    A great dress shirt in a complementary color will go a long way. Don’t be afraid to choose a fun gingham or striped shirt. This is the one day of the year when opting for more is better. A monogram on the shirt is a popular option for some.
  3. Blazer:
    The blazer is what brings the outfit together. A classic navy blazer is a safe choice, but a chalk stripe blazer can make a statement. Ready to up the ante? Go with a 3-piece suit that adds the personal touch of a nice fitting vest.

Accessory Tips:

  1. Tie:
    A necktie is the most popular choice, but a bowtie is always a great option. Don’t be afraid to try a bowtie if you’ve never worn one before.
  2. Shoes:
    Horse bit loafers are a popular choice. They should be worn sockless or with a complete no-show sock. Derby dress shoes are an excellent runner-up choice, too.
  3. Hat:
    A fedora or trilby hat completes the Kentucky Derby look. Men’s Derby hats are generally solid in color and inspired by the style from the 1920s. You will see a good number of them in a straw material.
  4. Sunglasses:
    Can add a nice finishing touch, especially if you opt to go hatless. Even with a hat, a nice pair of sunglass pulls the look together well. Lastly, be confident in your outfit choices, and enjoy the day.

Here are some of the best retailers to shop for all things fashion during the Kentucky Derby days — hint, think classic American prep brands.

  • Brooks Brothers
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Vineyard Vines
  • H&M
  • Amazon

Ladies’ Kentucky Derby fashion

Ladies, get ready to channel your inner Southern Belle and let your fashion shine at the Kentucky Derby! Don’t hold back when planning your wardrobe for this iconic event. Here’s how:

  1. Dress:
    Keep it simple so it doesn’t detract from your hat, or choose a dress with colorful, floral, or equine patterns. Be sure to dress in layers since the event is outdoors, and the weather can be unpredictable.
  2. Shoes:
    Complete your outfit with spring heels or sandals, but also pack a backup pair of flats for the long day and potentially tricky terrain. Backups can come in handy as things can be exacerbated when it rains, making it challenging when trying to walk around the grounds.
  3. Jewelry:
    Since the hat is the main accessory, keep jewelry simple. You can also opt for Kentucky Derby-themed jewelry.
  4. Bags:
    Pack a large bag to carry essentials like a change of shoes, water, program, sunglasses, sunscreen, and more. Bring a smaller clutch or over-the-shoulder bag for your cash and phone.
  5. Hats:
    The Kentucky Derby is known for its elaborate hats, which can range from elegant and wide-brimmed to eccentric and humorous. Wearing a hat is also believed to bring good luck.

Remember to have fun and let your creativity shine when putting together your Kentucky Derby outfit! Here are some of the best places to shop:

  • Vineyard Vines
  • Amazon
  • Etsy (yes, you can find extravagant hats and fascinators on Etsy)
  • H&M
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Ralph Lauren
  • J. Crew
  • Anthropologie

The Hats of Kentucky Derby

The hats worn at the Kentucky Derby have always taken center stage. Here is what to look for and some of our current favorites.

Women’s Hats

  1. Wide-brimmed embellished hats: These “Southern Belle” style hats are classic and eye-catching, but keep in mind that they can take up some extra personal space due to their size.
  2. Classic brim hats: These hats typically have a brim no wider than your shoulder width and are flattering for all.
  3. Fascinators: These small and versatile headpieces come in a variety of creative shapes and designs and can be firmly pinned in or attached to a headband or hair comb.

Phase Eight Muna Twist Back Disc Fascinator

Model wearing a red colored Phase eight fascinator on a grey background.

Buy Here:  $105


Berkeley Hat Company Soft Straw Hat for the Kentucky Derby

Female model wearing a Berkeley Hat Company Soft Straw Hat for the Kentucky Derby in a grey at with a grey background.

Buy Here:  $79

M612 ( Red/Black) Kentucky Derby Wide Brim Sinamay Hat

Mannequin wearing a M612 ( Red/Black) Kentucky Derby Wide Brim Sinamay Hat in red color with a beige background.

Buy Here:  $215

Zivyes Fascinator Hats for Women Pillbox Hat

Female model wearing a black Zivyes Fascinator Hats for Women Pillbox Hat with a white background.

Amazon:  $14.99


SAFERIN Women’s Organza Church Fascinator Hat

Lock and Co. Hatters – PHILLIMORE HEADBAND

Buy Here:  $986

Men’s Hats

  1. Fedora or bowler hats: These styles are great for completing the Kentucky Derby look, especially for men. Men’s Derby hats are usually solid in color and inspired by 1920s fashion.

Scala Men’s Toyo Safari

Scala Men's Toyo Safari hat on a white background.

Amazon:  $59.99

Scala Men’s Dress Straw Laichow Braid Boater Hat

H&M Felted Hat

Brown colored H&M felted hat on a grey background.

H&M:  $17.99

Lock and Co. Hatters – ST LOUIS TRILBY

Straw colored Lock and Co. Hatters - ST LOUIS TRILBY on a white background.

Buy Here:  $270

Lock and Co. Hatters – CLASSIC BOATER

Buy Here:  $248

Lock and Co. Hatters – NAPLES PANAMA

Buy Here:  $292

Derby days cocktails – Popular drinks of choice

By far and away the go-to choice for most attending a Kentucky Derby event is to make sure you are partaking in a mint julep — official drink choice of the running of the roses. We also added in two other popular alternatives as well. Enjoy responsibly!

Mint Julep


  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Granulated sugar
  • Crushed ice
  • Bourbon whiskey


  1. Begin by preparing your mint. Pick 8-10 fresh mint leaves, rinse them under cold water, and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, add the mint leaves and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Use a muddler or the back of a spoon to gently crush and bruise the leaves, releasing the oils and flavors.
  3. Transfer the mint and sugar mixture into a glass. A traditional silver or copper julep cup is ideal, but any sturdy glass will do.
  4. Fill the glass with crushed ice, packing it tightly to the top.
  5. Pour 2.5 ounces of bourbon whiskey over the ice, allowing it to seep down into the ice and mingling with the mint and sugar.
  6. Use a spoon or swizzle stick to gently stir the mixture, distributing the flavors evenly throughout the drink.
  7. Top the glass with a bit more crushed ice, making a mound that comes up over the rim.
  8. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig. Slap the mint against your hand to release the aromas before placing it in the drink.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy your refreshing mint julep.


  • If you prefer a sweeter julep, you can add an extra teaspoon of sugar or even a splash of simple syrup.
  • For an extra touch of elegance, you can dust the mint sprig with powdered sugar before garnishing.

Bourbon Old-Fashioned – Sweet


  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange slice
  • Maraschino cherry
  • Ice


  1. Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. You can use a large ice cube or several smaller ones.
  2. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters to the glass.
  3. Pour 1 teaspoon of simple syrup over the ice and bitters.
  4. Pour 2 ounces of bourbon whiskey into the glass.
  5. Stir the mixture gently with a bar spoon for about 20-30 seconds, allowing the flavors to combine and the ice to melt a bit.
  6. Take an orange slice and run it around the rim of the glass. Then, drop the orange slice into the drink.
  7. Add a maraschino cherry to the glass as a garnish.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious bourbon old fashioned sweet.


  • If you prefer a stronger or weaker drink, you can adjust the amount of bourbon whiskey accordingly.
  • You can also experiment with different types of bitters to find your preferred flavor profile.
  • If you don’t have simple syrup on hand, you can make your own by dissolving equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then cooling and storing in a bottle in the refrigerator.

Moscow Mule


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge for garnish


  1. Fill a copper mug (or a highball glass) with ice.
  2. Squeeze the juice from half a lime into the mug.
  3. Pour 2 ounces of vodka into the mug.
  4. Top off the mug with 4 ounces of ginger beer. You can adjust the amount of ginger beer to your taste.
  5. Use a stirrer or spoon to mix the ingredients together.
  6. Garnish the drink with a lime wedge on the rim of the mug.
  7. Serve and enjoy your refreshing Moscow Mule.


  • You can add a splash of simple syrup to sweeten the drink if you prefer.
  • For an extra kick, add a few slices of fresh ginger to the drink when you mix the ingredients together.
  • You can also experiment with different types of ginger beer to find your preferred flavor.

2024 Kentucky Derby: Date, horses, odds

The 150th Kentucky Derby has arrived, with the Run for the Roses set to begin at 6:57 p.m. ET on Saturday as the first leg of the prestigious Triple Crown horse racing competition. “The Run For the Roses” will feature 20 horses vying for the chance to win and secure a place in racing history, completing the 1 1/4 mile race in the shortest time possible.

FanDuel presents the field

The excitement and anticipation leading up to the Kentucky Derby is palpable as fans and bettors alike eagerly await the outcome of this historic event. Here is this year’s field, featuring post numbers and odds. Ready to place some bets? Head over to FanDuel, and good luck!

The Field

Prg #      Horse                        Odds Projection

1              Dornoch                        20-1
2             Sierra Leone                 3-1
3             Mystik Dan                   20-1
4             Catching Freedom       8-1
5             Catalytic                         30-1
6             Just Steel                       20-1
7             Honor Marie                 20-1
8             Just a Touch                  10-1
9             Encino                            SCR
10           T O Password (JPN)    30-1
11           Forever Young (JPN)   10-1
12           Track Phantom             20-1
13           West Saratoga              50-1
14           Endlessly                      30-1
15           Domestic Product       30-1
16           Grand Mo the First     50-1
17           Fierceness                     5-2
18           Stronghold                   20-1
19           Resilience                     20-1
20          Society Man                 50-1
21           Epic Ride                     30-1