The craziest hats of the Kentucky Derby

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The Kentucky Derby, known as the fastest two minutes in sports, is the culmination of the hard work of thousands of horses, owners, trainers and jockeys. Only twenty horses will vie for the coveted title, after multiple preliminary races to determine the best of the best.

Between "Prep Season" races and a "Championship Series" leading up to the big day, 2013 was the first year in which the top four finishing horses for each race receive a certain number of points. At the end of the season, all of these points will be tallied to see which 20 will enter the Derby. Previously the determination was made using grade stakes earnings.

While it has always been a huge event in the world of horse racing, the Kentucky Derby has also become quite the event in the world of style. People flock to Churchill Downs, KY every year, eager to watch the horse race, and some perhaps even more eager to show off their creativity.

In its beginnings in 1875, wearing a hat to an outdoor event was seen as a necessity for both men and women. Well-to-do ladies of the time saw this event as an opportunity to be seen in the latest fashions, and had access to many talented Louisville seamstresses. As the race takes place in the Spring, many women wore silk, and hats helped to shield them from the sun.

Through the years, the fashion for the event has evolved just as rapidly as it did on the runway, but a few things remained. Women dressed in their best, and always topped off the look with a fabulous hat. And why wouldn't they? For the Derby, it is believed to bring good luck! As the event steadily gained popularity, women started to have more fun with their accessories. Society may have loosened the reins (ha - yes, pun intended) on the necessity to wear a hat and gloves wherever a woman went, but the Derby provided a place for the nostalgic to continue this trend, and in a fun way.

There are no rules when it comes to head accessories, and many are seen in classy, fashionable looks, while others sport crazier inventions. Take a look through the gallery above to see some of the funniest and coolest hats of the Kentucky Derby!

Photo Credit: AP; Getty Images

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