Churchill Downs, with its sunny 75-degree weather and a large number of returning fans as well as new attendees, was crowded on Oaks Day.
Dick Michaelis from Minnesota was one of the first-timers, having wanted to attend "for years." He is attending Oaks and Derby along with his daughter Amber and granddaughter Lyla. All three were wearing colorful hats on the infield.
Michaelis replied, "With these hats, how could it not?" When asked whether it lived up to his expectations. We're almost a celebrity."
Not only the Minnesota trio attracted attention. Jeff Carta from Southern California, who is a retired retiree and plays Santa Claus during Christmas, caught the attention of many with his asymmetrical beard.
"I'm with my friends." Carta stated that this was a bucket-list item for them. We bet on horses regularly and decided that it was the right time to go to Kentucky.
Around 20 former Miss America contestants attended Oaks Day with Miss Kentucky Hannah Edelen.
This is our first visit to Kentucky. Miss Pennsylvania Alysa Bainsbridge said, 'We are grateful to Miss Kentucky hosting us this time. It's a beautiful place and we are having a great time,' said Miss Pennsylvania Alysa Bainbridge.
Gregoro Banuelos is an entertainer who hails from Denver, Colorado. He said he had family in the area that assured him it would be a great time.
I love the people who live here. Banuelos stated, "I'm coming back tomorrow and will definitely return next year."
Payton, Bailea, and Christen are three friends from Texas who bucked tradition by wearing dresses to Churchill. They wore pant suits instead.
Payton explained that "one of us wanted to make a pantsuit, so we all had to make a pantsuit." "We have an Instagram account... so this is important."
Peggy Miller, a native of Louisville, was not wearing a dress or suit -- she wore the "world's biggest Derby hat." It was certainly big, even though we didn't confirm if it really was the world's largest.
"I worked all night on this outfit four years ago. I made it about four years ago." She said, "I never went to sleep." The next day, I had to go to Derby at 9 am and I couldn't take it out of my basement.
Miller, who is employed by Staples Jewelry in Shelbyville Road said that she attended every year but it was the first time this year she could attend Oaks Day as she usually has to go to work.
She said, "It was fun." "I like to dress up and see people smile and laugh.
Debra Bates, a South End resident, is also on her third Churchill Downs day.
Bates stated, 'We used to be in the grandstand earlier in the week, but now we are in the infield.' This is our friends' first visit to the track, so we're going to continue the celebration.
Some Louisvillians went out to enjoy the weather. Audrey Jones was one of them. She came with two friends and was a recent Male High School Graduate.
We came out to show our Kentucky pride and because it was a great day. Jones said, 'We had some wonderful weather this year.
Tori Davis said, "We came out to enjoy the good weather and perhaps win some money."
Churchill Downs is yet to provide us with an official attendance figure. Wet Paint is the favorite to win in the 149th Kentucky Oaks. She has won five of her previous starts. The Oaks is scheduled to post at 5:51 pm. We'll have updates from the track later in the day.