LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If Oaks Day is Churchill Downs' ode in lilies to fillies, adopted Louisvillian Tom Bell sees another distinction from Saturday's Run for the Roses.
"It's just a little bit more Kentucky," he said.
And the clothes horses carry the card.
"Know what colors you want, know the colors," Oaks veteran Ashley Johnson told WAVE 3 News.
Johnson's colors were aquamarine and tan; also the choice of her friend, Keisha Pelumi, an Oaks Day newbie.
"The hat came first; I got the hat yesterday," Pelumi said. "And the dress, and everything else, came together today."
The Pink Out, a tribute to survivors of breast cancer and to the push for cancer research, made quite an impression on Ginny Johnson, who was visiting from Colorado.
"Breast cancer has touched someone close to us," said Ginny Johnson. "And just the fact that everybody dresses up-it's just -nobody's in their sweats or their jeans, it's a major event."
Johnson and several friends were the guests of Okolona's Rita Bancroft.
"I think we come with more of a purpose to party, " Bancroft said. "And on Derby Day you're here to observe the crowd, and maybe be serious about betting. We're not real serious."
Clearly, they haven't met Cathy Manley, the nurse practitioner who turns equine prognosticator a week before Derby.
Last year (Oaks Day) I won 5 out of the 12 races," Manley said.
"She did take that whole week off and did nothing but study," said Ryan Love, Manley's fiance. "She just sat in her office with horse books."
"You pick a set amount of money. You bet that for the day, then you're done," Manley said. "It's an entertainment expense. If you lose, it's still fun."
Words spoken like a true Louisvillian and something Carla Hollie can relate.
"It's about spending time with friends and just enjoying this beautiful weather," said Hollie.
Newbies may not know what to expect. But Boston's Stanley Borgeson wanted Oaks Day on his bucket list.
"We're retired now, just want to come down," said Borgeson. "We just want to live the dream."
Borgeson was Tom Bell's guest.
"I moved here when I was 19," said Bell, age 51. "I'll never go home to Wisconsin. I'm home in Kentucky."
Love, Manley's fiance', knew that the Oaks and the Derby were part of the deal when he popped the question.
"I'll show her the Indianapolis 500 when it comes around," said the Bloomington native and Indiana University graduate.
The couple is up on its betting this on Oaks Day ... in every way.
"I definitely picked a winning filly," Love said.
They're to be married this October.
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