|Dress (Taylor; Amazon); Lace Cardigan (Calvin Klein; Macy's)|
What do MC Hammer, fashion design, and horse racing have in common? I know it sounds like there's a clever punchline coming next, but I'm serious...While "Hammer pants" are not, and have never been, the height of horse race fashion, it turns out the popular 1990s rapper and thoroughbred owner also left his mark on racing silks. Who knew?!
|Sunglasses (Gordmans); Hat (Charming Charlie); Sterling racehorse pendant (Churchill Downs gift shop)|
Owners who don't have their own proprietary design often avail themselves of "house silks," which are generic uniforms provided by a given racetrack. Some tracks also have strict requirements for the design of custom silks, too. In New York, owners are required to register their designs with The Jockey Club, and those that don't conform to club rules will be rejected.
|Sometimes attention to detail when dressing has unexpected perks - my "white party" attire earned an on-the-spot invitation to the evening's exclusive VIP lounge, where I had an opportunity to mingle with the jockeys!|
Apparently, MC Hammer's flamboyant, non-traditional design for his stable's silks did not meet Jockey Club rules. As a result, in 1991, the rapper was told house silks would have to be used by the jockey riding his Kentucky Oaks winning horse, Lite Light, in a stakes race at Belmont. Hammer, unwilling to touch the generic uniforms, threatened to pull the horse from the race. Because Lite Light was favored to win, the track relented and allowed the rapper to flaunt Jockey Club rules in his own design. Then, "too legit to quit" after his fashion victory, the Daily Racing Form reported that Hammer had to pay a local seamstress to make a new set of the controversial silks just hours before the race because he'd forgotten to pack the originals he'd fought so hard for!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!