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A Day at the Races

Time April 15th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Lately there’s been some growing excitement on Facebook surrounding the start of Derby Days back home at Bucknell. Derby Days is a friendly week-long competition between the sororities. Different events are held, each of which can earn you points. But the big point-winner is the “Derby,” a white cross hidden somewhere on campus.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, I got to attend the REAL THING! This past weekend was the first weekend of The Championships at Royal Randwick, which is conveniently located directly next to UNSW! Eight races were held on Saturday, including the Australian Derby. The Australian Derby is a 2400 meter race for three-year-old horses. This year, it was won by a horse named Criterion.

But the horses aren’t the only ones competing at this event. There are also awards given for the best dressed woman and man attending the races, which are always given a color scheme of black and white. (So just that morning I ran out to a thrift store, called an “Op Shop,” to find a $15 black dress – what a steal!) To help attendees look their best all day long, L’Oreal and Clinique had complementary hair and make-up touch-up tents, and there were even shoe shining stations for the gents. Quite fancy! But, I think it was a lost cause to try to stay pristine all day, considering the wind, rain, and puddles everywhere. To the people that managed to do it, bravo!

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Fashion Awards Judging Criteria:

Best Dressed Women’s Racewear:

  • Style and originality
  • Hat or headpiece is compulsory, wool or felt for Autumn (no straw)
  • Covered toe shoes
  • Appropriateness of the outfit for Autumn racing, The BMW Sydney Carnival and the individual
  • Attention to detail with all aspects of the outfit such as shoes, handbag and accessories
  • Understanding and interpretation of racewear and current trends
  • Grooming and department
  • Suitability of the outfit for the climate of the season and of the day
  • Black & white (Championships Day 1 only)

Best Dressed Men’s Racewear:

  • Suit, jacket and tie are essential
  • Attention to detail with all aspects of accessories such as gentlemen’s hat and /or lapel flower
  • Understanding and interpretation of racewear and current trends
  • Grooming and deportment
  • Suitability of the outfit for the climate of the season and of the day
  • Black & white (Championships Day 1 only)

My favorite part of the whole day was being there with my friends, Katherine and Bridget. Despite the poor weather, the intimidating well-dressed women, the crowds, slightly intoxicated loud people, and sore feet, we all stuck it out and were laughing and cheering through it all. We learned how and where to place bets (you can bet basically ANYWHERE – people are always available to take your money. And you have to make sure you specify which race and the NUMBERS of the horses you want, not just the names. And what type of bet it is.) We learned that putting a table on top of two chairs against a wall was an acceptable way of getting out of the rain, and we timed our exit perfectly to get us back to the dining hall at UNSW for a hot dinner. A great adventure, and great memories made :)

Now next year, when I’m back at school participating in a different kind of derby, I’ll have a bit more of an appreciation for the horse on our team shirts!

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