Despite the fact that men are often viewed as loving races, competition, and sports in general, big time horse racing is commonly associated with women. The main reason for this is that major horse racing festivals are increasingly viewed and even marketed as fashion exhibitions. It started with the “Derby Hats” that have obtained wild popularity at the Kentucky Derby and elsewhere throughout the world, but now horse racing fashion for women is essentially its own category of bold, colorful looks and over-the-top displays. A large part of enjoying a day at the races has become dressing to impress.

But how can men best equip themselves to enjoy a horse racing festival?

For starters, don’t ignore the fashion side of the event. While it’s true that the ladies tend to get the bulk of the publicity—and really, that’s fine by us—horse racing festivals also invite men to show off some stylish looks. Fashion At The Races has some nice tips for men’s racing fashion, including ideas for picking out suits, matching watch bands and shoes, and so forth. The basic idea, though, is to have fun and look sharp at the same time. It’s definitely not uncommon to see guys wearing colourful sport jackets they probably wouldn’t be caught dead in away from the tracks. Or if you want to be a little more understated, a bright bow tie or colourful pocket square ought to help you fit in. Lastly, don’t be afraid to throw in an old-school touch, such as a bowler hat or walking cane. Think Gatsby with some colour.

[adsense300gray]Next, consider going in a group, rather than just with a date. Check out The Guardian’s photos of Ladies Day at the Grand National last year, and you’ll notice countless clusters of girlfriends taking photos and strutting their stuff together. Well, if your date has her girlfriends along as well, you’ll want your buddies on hand to grab a drink with while all this is going on. This isn’t to say horse racing events separate men from women by any means, but there’s no problem with admitting the average male and female spectators have different priorities! The best way to experience one of these events is to go with a group of friends, both male and female, so that everyone can get what he or she wants out of it. And just so you know, most major racing venues are well equipped with great bar and restaurant options to occupy yo
ur time in between races.

Speaking of ways to occupy your time, you may also want to prepare yourself for the betting scene at a major race. Generally, the races are bustling with betting activity, both in person and online, and this introduces a fun way to start enjoying the race before it even begins. As one of the leading betting sites for international horse racing events, Betfair organizes its horse racing pages with betting tips and odds listings for races weeks, and sometimes months, before they actually occur.

It’s a lot to take in for an inexperienced fan, but checking in at this site, even if just to educate yourself, lets you know which horses to keep an eye on, and which you might be keen to place a bet on when the time comes. No one should feel pressured to make a bet, least of all a big one. However, with horse racing, gambling truly is part of the culture, and placing even a small wager gives you another way to enjoy yourself at the tracks.

With all of this done, you’re ready to sit back and enjoy the races. In reality, it’s difficult to not have fun attending a major race. But if you jump into the spirit of style, surround yourself with good friends female, and educate yourself on the runners and trainers, you’ll be all the more equipped to have the time of your life. And as happens with a lot of first time racegoers, you may just find a new hobby to latch onto.

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