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Grab those wide-brimmed hats and pour a couple mint juleps, it’s Kentucky Derby day!

You might say southern girls have all the fun, donning Lily Pulitzer sundresses and shiny pearls to every football game they attend. But to me, Kentucky is just as much Midwestern as it is Southern, and I like to claim a little of the excitement for us. Regardless of any ripped-jean, t-shirt trends of the day, the Derby never fails to remind us of the beauty in refinement and elegance.

Not that today is all about fashion. Let’s not forget the true stars: the horses. I could never be involved in horse racing, simply knowing the chance of injury. But watching these majestic animals pounding their hooves around a turn, flying with all four legs off the ground, is breathtaking. It’s no wonder so many horses have become household names.

As the clock ticks closer to the opening of the gates, I can’t help but get excited watching the [rain soaked] crowd and sifting through glamorous pictures of derbies past. Cheers!

Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. Photo via Google Images

Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. Photo via Google Images

derby 1932 npr.org

A 1932 Derby photo, via NPR.org

derby boys

Men also get into the Derby fun, enjoying a variety of hats and pastel ties. Photo via Gadling

derby hat

This hat makes me swoon. Photo via Gadling

derby hat2

And from the front… I’m still obsessed!

derby hats

Photo via Pinterest

derby mint julep

It’s not the Kentucky Derby without a Mint Julep! Photo via Pinterest

derby vintage

Love this vintage Derby photo, via Google Images

2013 Kentucky Derby

Though Orb is favored to win, Golden Soul here got the great shot, via sbnation.com

derby kate middleton

Will, Harry and Kate show us how it’s done at the 2011 Epsom Derby, via Pinterest