Photos courtesy of the Kentucky Derby
Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., who was the grandson of American explorer William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame, founded the Kentucky Derby in 1873 after attending the Epsom Derby in England. He returned to Louisville, KY determined to build a similar venue for thoroughbred horse racing, stateside. He obtained land from his maternal uncles, the Churchill brothers, and built Churchill Downs, which he fashioned after Epsom Downs. The dress code at Churchill Downs is similar to its English counterpart with women and men, smartly and elegantly attired with hats complimenting their ensembles.The tradition of donning elegant millinery has continued to this day, with some women wearing elaborate creations festooned with feathers, ribbons, and/or bows.