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Kentucky Derby Hats 2012

Extravagant head attire has long been part of the Kentucky Derby. The race is certainly centered around horses, and the track, and which jockey rides his horse faster than the others, but hats have become such a big part of the event's culture that the race's official website has a section dedicated entirely to headwear.

The site has a gallery of hats that might be acceptable (hint: any wide-brimmed hat that looks like it costs more than a human life is sufficient), and a description of why hats have become a part of the Derby culture:

Part Southern tradition, part spectacle, the Kentucky Derby hat parade is much of what makes "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" one of the greatest people-watching events in the world! From the fantastic to the sublime, there are no rules or limits when it comes to choosing your Derby hat.

Whether to make a statement or just keep the sun at bay, Kentucky Derby hats are part of the tradition and the pageantry that make a trip to the Derby an unforgettable experience. Check out some of our favorites from prior years!

For more on the Kentucky Derby, please be sure to check out And Down The Stretch They Come along with our StoryStream.