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Country Stars Win, Place and Show

Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and more Do the Derby!

Luke & Caroline by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images; Miranda & Martina by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Moet Chandon

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. Unless it's the Kentucky Derby. Then a horse is an event! And country stars turned out in full-force and decked out in Derby duds to enjoy the weekend's festivities.

On Friday night, stars like Luke Bryan, Kix Brooks, Miranda Lambert and Kid Rock ditched their typical performance attire and donned suits and cocktail dresses to perform at pre-race events, including the Unbridled benefit and the annual Barnstable Brown gala. Other stars, including Jo Dee Messina, attended the show in their Derby finery.

 Martina McBride held the high honor of performing the national anthem on race day. Ditching the ginormous picture hat for a more Gatsby-era look, Martina represented country music in a classic and classy cloche, with a black-and-white pinstripe peplumed sheath. Her country music peers, which also included Travis Tritt, Eddie Montgomery and Clay Walker, bowed to the time-honored tradition of the Derby and came decked out in brights and pastels, suits and seersucker and, of course, the obligatory chapeau for the rainy day.

With two more races left in the Triple Crown—The Preakness and the Belmont Stakes—you still have time to get race ready! Taking a clue from our country cousins, here's a list of racewear essentials:

  1. A hat — bigger isn't always better! Martina wore a close-fitting cloche and Miranda has a penchant for the British-inspired fascinators.
  2. Plaid — pants, jacket or, as Luke Bryan opted for, a shirt and a chic pocket square. Nice!
  3. A wad of cash — let's face it, horse-racing is called the "sport of kings" for a reason, and part of the fun is taking a chance on picking a winner. Wanna be really daring? Pick the win, place and show!
  4. A cigar — nothing says high-roller like a fat stogie, and nobody knows Cubans like Kid Rock.
  5. A cocktail — be it a traditional mint julep, a glass of Moet & Chandon...or even a cold beer, toasting a winning horse, a killer performance or a break in the rain adds to the festive day. 

Gentlemen, start your . . . oh wait, wrong race.


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