ALTON -- The Derby Day Celebration held at Mac's downtown Alton, on Saturday, was a great event for Kentucky Derby fans. Many participants dressed up in large, fancy hats to celebrate the occasion.
Mage, 15-1, won the Kentucky Derby in the 149th Edition of the World's Most Famous Race. Javier Castellano, 45 - a Hall of Fame Jockey who ended a 0-for-15 Derby skid - rode the horse. Two Phil's came in second, with Angels of Empire coming in third.
Elaine Charlemagne, a Kirkwood, Missouri resident, was a standout among the fans at Mac's. She wore a large straw hat decorated with contrasting black and white ribbons.
Charlemagne said, "I bought this hat at 50 because I believe everyone should have a "Go to Hell" hat." I pull it out every year around this time to give it a try.
Charlemagne has attended the Kentucky Derby several times and is a huge fan.
Have you ever stood next to these horses as they ran by? Charlemagne said, 'You've never experienced such power before.' He thought Built for Speed would make a good race horse name. The whole experience was a lot of fun. Just standing there and watching the horses race by you is a great feeling.
Susie Eckert from Alton, and Judy Pratt from Godfrey worked together to coordinate their efforts. They were dressed head-to-toe with Derby-style dresses, shoes, and hats.
Eckert explained, 'She is usually my stylist but today she was mine.' What you see today was a very last-minute effort.
Pratt likes the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Kentucky Derby. She said that she would name her race horse Sparky B, after a horse which she owned as a child.
She said, "They had the whole sham with the coronation in England this morning." "But here in Kentucky, we have the Kentucky Derby." Which is more important, the royals or horseracing? We'll choose the horses.
Carol Mohme, Peggy Boumard and Sherry Laughlin of Granite City were among a group of friends who selected their hats for Mac's Derby Day Celebration.
Did you notice that hers matches the clothes she wears? Mohme said Boumard's dress was "wild". You should see the many hats that I purchased while trying to make a decision. If I were to die and my children saw all those hats, they would think that I was crazy.
Our family is from Kentucky, but we have never been to the Derby. Mohme replied, 'I wish I could have. We love horses and races, and it's an exciting party for a race less than two minute long.
Aubrey Edwards, a four-month-old baby from Alton, wore a bow designed by her mother Amanda for the occasion.
Amanda Edwards explained that they chose the headwear because her hair is a bit bald. They wanted to let people know it was a female. You can't miss the celebration. It's always a great time for our family, and we come here every year. Mac's always puts on an amazing show, and we love to see our favorite bands perform here. We might as well come along.
Edwards and her friends enjoy the Derby, the thrilling race and the excitement that builds up all year long. After discussing the matter, Edwards said that they all agreed on a name for a race horse: 'It is a hell of a game.'
According to legend, the larger the hat the better your luck. Betting on the race is a tradition that dates back to the first Derby, in 1875.
The official Derby drink, Mint juleps are a mixture of bourbon with sugar, crushed ice, and mint. They were served on Saturday at Mac's. In 1896, the tradition of 'running for the roses" began when the winning Derby jockey was presented with a variety of roses. In 1932, the first garland of roses similar to those that are now given to the winners appeared.
This story was contributed by The Associated Press.