The Time I Went To The Kentucky Derby – And Yes, My Hat ROCKED

The Time I Went To The Kentucky Derby - And Wait 'Til You See My HAT! Kentucky Derby Ticket

Last year, I was lucky enough to scratch off one of my top bucket list items: I went to the Kentucky Derby. Experiencing “The Derby” first hand was everything I hoped it would be- and then some. The vibe was just electric. Men in suits, mint juleps and oh the hats! THE HATS! So I just thought I’d share a little about the Time I Went To The Kentucky Derby, and of course, lots of pictures of the hats.

My favorite cousin had called me in December. “Do you want to go to The Derby?” My cousin’s then-boyfriend (now fiancé) was from Kentucky. His name is Will. In Will’s family, The Derby is a BIG deal. They go every single year and they do it right. Race track suites are booked a year in advance, and after spending some time with Will’s family, I started to believe that The Kentucky Derby might be a bigger deal to them than Christmas. My cousin told me that Will’s parents were inviting us to not only stay with them at their home, but they were also inviting us to join them in their suite at The Kentucky Derby! Kinda crazy, but who doesn’t jump at an invitation to the Kentucky Derby in a race track suite and a free place to stay?

When they picked us up from the airport, the first thing they did was take us to a hotel that was very close. Apparently, there’s a guy that sets up a pop-up Kentucky Derby Hat shop in one of the meeting rooms a week before Derby week and just sells hats. But more importantly? That’s where Will’s mom buys her hats every year. So OF COURSE I wanted to go there! I am SO glad I did. I walked into Kentucky Derby Hat Heaven:

White Kentucky Derby Hats

Red Kentucky Derby Hats

But I didn’t really find THE HAT. I saw and tried some on that were close, but not quite right. I had my heart set on a big, pink hat. I had gone all over town in Miami and didn’t find anything. Yet here I was in Kentucky Derby Hat Heaven and I still didn’t find the one that was quite right. But then the owner of the shop came up to me and asked me what my dress looked like. I told him it was black, white and pink. He pulled out a pink hat. I liked it, but…he read the look on my face.

“It needs more bang, right?” I nodded. He went right to work:My Kentucky Derby Hat

My Pink Kentucky Derby Hat The Time I Went To The Kentucky Derby

 “Go to the bar and come back in 20 minutes.” He told me.

When I got back, I had THIS waiting for me:  *Drool*

The Time I Went To The Kentucky Derby My Kentucky Derby Hat 1


Derby Day was amazingly beautiful.

Churchill Downs



Tickets in hand, we were ready. Oh the Suite Life!

Kentucky Derby Ticket Suite


And as promised, let the hats begin!

Big Red Kentucky Derby Hat

Flowered Kentucky Derby Hat


Horse Kentucky Derby Hat


Feathered Kentucky Derby Hats

See the guy in the glasses in the back? That’s Will. (heehee)


Mrs. Kentucky Derby

Sorry, Mrs. Kentucky, I really didn’t mean to get a picture of you in front of a trash can.


Pink Power Couple

Kentucky Derby Power Couple


Rose Kentucky Derby Hat



The Time I Went To The Kentucky Derby


And last, but not least, yours truly:

The Time I Went To The Kentucky

Danza Kentucky Derby

So why am I holding a photo of Tony Danza? Danza was the name of the horse I was betting on. While Danza was one of the favorites of the race, it just so happened that my friend (and famous jockey) Joe Bravo was racing him, so it was a no brainer pick. (Danza came in 3rd)

Happy Kentucky Derby Day! Hope your horse wins!