How To Dress for the Triple Crown Races

min read
A well-dressed couple embrace and smile at each other at a horse racing event.
BetMGM @BETMGM May 06, 2022, 10:31 AM

How you dress isn’t important when you take part in online sports betting with great horse racing odds, but you’re going to have to bring your A-game if you’re attending any of the Triple Crown races in person. Here’s what you need to keep in mind fashion-wise if you’re planning on attending one of these prestigious horse racing events in person.

What is the Triple Crown?

Before we get into our exciting fashion guidelines, some of you may be wondering what the Triple Crown is and why it is so important. 

The Triple Crown consists of three horse races: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. These races are specifically for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds, and winning all three of these races is considered to be the greatest accomplishment for a rider and owner. Throughout its decades-long history, only 13 horses have ever managed to accomplish this incredible feat.

What you should wear to a Triple Crown race

Considering how prestigious Triple Crown races are, it’s expected that there are certain expectations around how one should dress. It may not surprise you that each of the races that make up the Triple Crown actually has its own fashion culture, but you may be surprised at the strict dress codes enforced by the venues. Here’s what you should keep in mind if you’re attending one of these historic racing events but also be aware that some are happy to rock their own style, no matter what other people are wearing:

The Belmont Stakes

If you’re attending the Belmont Stakes, you should know that this event is all about class. When deciding what to wear, you should be focused on putting together an ensemble that is undoubtedly elegant.

Tips for men

Gents, if you’re heading over to the Belmont Track, there are some fairly strict rules about what you can and can’t wear, especially if you’re hoping to access all sections of Belmont Park. If you want to play it safe, shorts, cut-offs and abbreviated wear, tank tops and collarless shirts should be avoided. Think collared shirts, nice shoes and a suit or a suit jacket if you want to be able to access the different parts of the venue.

Tips for women

Ladies are far less restricted when it comes to fashion choices, but any abbreviated wear should be avoided. If you’re planning on walking or standing for most of the day, consider wearing a shorter heel or flats for maximum comfort. A simple but stylish hat is a must.

The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a far more open affair when it comes to fashion, with the event embracing far more lavish colors and clothing. However, much like the Belmont Stakes, different styles of attire will allow or deny you access to certain parts of the Churchill Downs track. There are three general styles of dress that are acceptable: business casual, smart casual and track casual. These different styles of clothing will affect which parts of the track you’ll be able to access.

Tips for men

For the gentlemen who are attending this race, the following clothing items may be considered inappropriate for certain areas, depending on your style of dress. The following items aren’t allowed when dressing smart or business casual:

  • Jeans and denim (untorn or torn items)
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Halter tops
  • Athletic wear
  • Tennis shoes
  • Cargo shorts

Track casual will give you a lot more freedom, but any worn or torn items, athletic wear, or midriff tops will be considered inappropriate.

With this out of the way, as long as you stick to these requirements, you can still go bold when it comes to colors and design. Floral dress shirts, loud bow ties and any other appropriate wear that stands out will not be frowned upon at this event.

Tips for women

While hats are undoubtedly a special part of derby fashion culture, they are especially important if you’re attending the Kentucky Derby. Your hat should definitely lean towards extravagant over elegant and be paired with ruffles, flowers, ribbons, bows and any other exciting items that help it pop. 

When it comes to your other fashion items, make sure that it supports your fantastic hat by matching or complementing it. Also, make sure that it’s comfortable to wear or that you’re at least wearing layers so that you can adjust to the weather as necessary. Also, heels may look good, but you may want to wear a shorter heel or carry a spare pair of flats if you plan on being on your feet most of the day.

The Preakness Stakes

While you may have been surprised by the dress code rules for two of the three Triple Crown events, the Pimlico Race Course has a much simpler approach to the dress code. You are allowed to wear casual attire but no cut-offs or tank tops are permitted in the dining areas. In fact, glamor is what it’s all about, so be sure to dress to impress. Yellow and black, the traditional colors of the event, which are drawn from the black-eyed Susan flower, are also encouraged when deciding on your outfit.

With these simple rules out of the way, let’s take a look at what fashion you should be sporting when you are attending the Preakness Stakes.

Tips for men

Men who are attending the Preakness Stakes should know that it’s all about the suit. Going over the top with bright colors, floral designs and other “out there” styles or keeping it simple and classy are both welcome at this Triple Crown race.

Tips for women

Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind when deciding what to wear for the Preakness Stakes is that derby hats are less important here, with more of a focus on dresses. But again, this event is a little less stringent on its fashion culture, so you’ll have more freedom in whatever you decide to wear.

Enjoy the horse racing calendar from the comfort of your own home

If all of this sounds like a lot of effort or you’d like to wager ahead of time so that you can just enjoy the event, you can place your bets at BetMGM. BetMGM has partnered with NYRA Bets to bring you the best that the exciting world of horse racing has to offer. NYRA betting online at BetMGM allows you to wager on an incredible number of races as well as horse racing tournaments, all with fantastic odds.

Register with BetMGM to place your bets on your favorite horses and races!

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.