For a select not-so-few, the Kentucky Derby is about bringing to the starting gate a horse that, however temporarily, will be a candidate for racing’s Triple Crown.
For the not-so-select many, Derby Day is about dressing up, which is why figure skaters and Olympic commentators Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski were called upon to help with TV’s Derby coverage. In a press conference this week, Weir, known as much for his feathers and bows as for his jumps and spins, wrote off backstretch fashion.
“I’m not really down with people who show up in blue jeans and cowboy boots,” Weir said. “I think that you should dress it up a little bit more. There is drinking and partying and fashion and celebrity and all of these things that go into it. It’s not just about the NHL or NFL or NBA game that happens almost every night, and there’s some tall man shooting a ball at a basket almost every night on my television.”
He got no argument from his partner in flair, Tara Lipinski.
“The race is two minutes,” Lipinski said. “But the fashion is so unique that it’s a lot of fun to see what everyone shows up in.”
“I’ve been in Louisville all week,” Genaro said. “And I have yet to go past a clothing store which is not advertising Derby fashion and Derby hats, and they certainly have a kind of red carpet here for folks to come in and get their pictures taken and display their spring finery.”
Tara Lipinski’s finery will apparently include high heels. But not to worry. During the press conference, Johnny Weir said that if the track came up sloppy, he would carry Ms. Lipinski wherever she needed to go. Ms. Genaro, on the other hand, will be wearing boots.
“I think it’s awesome of Johnny to offer to do that,” Genaro said. “I’m not sure I could find a fellow turf writer who would be willing to perform that same favor for me.”
Absent sparkling stilettos, how could Ms. Genaro hope to impress Johnny Weir?
“If I see a beautiful hat with an Elmo stuffed animal on it that’s rhinestone-studded, that’s obviously gonna catch my eye,” Weir said.
Yes, I could see how that might work. Perhaps with a bright red scarf.