But one thing you won’t see on this list is a hat. You may want to treat her to a splashy special hat, but do everyone a favor and don’t pick it out yourself. “Usually women end up exchanging it,” said milliner Christine A. Moore, who suggests buying a gift certificate instead.
And here’s another tip. A lot of merchandise out there depicts generic horses or other equestrian sports like polo, show jumping, or fox hunting. If your lady is more Del Mar than dressage, go for anything depicting jockeys, tracks, or champion horses. Forget the riders in top hats!
1. Keeneland Gate Post Bag ($125)
This canvas bag comes decorated with a gate post to Keeneland, the Kentucky track beloved by racing aficionados everywhere. This bag is for the gals who don’t need to advertise their racing cred: Those who know, will know.
2. Zenyatta DVD ($15)
Cuddle up with your queen and relive some of racing’s best moments with “Zenyatta, Queen of Racing,” a full-length documentary plus bonus features including all 20 of her races. The shop at Zenyatta.com also offers everything from leather totes with Zenyatta plaques ($179.95) to greeting cards (starting at about $5) featuring the queen of racing.
3. 2015 Breeders’ Cup Silk Scarf ($112.50)
For the 2015 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, Lexington’s South Hill Gallery created a silk scarf using classic motifs of horses, tack and Keeneland’s posts. As beautiful as anything from Hermes (at a fraction of the cost), this scarf captures an historic moment in a sport that loves history.
4. Saratoga 1863 Pillow ($98)
One of the most tasteful shops in Saratoga Springs is Silverwood Gallery, purveyor of home decor, jewelry, and original artworks. It’s all available on their online shop, but one of the most “Saratoga” items you can find is this pillow honoring the 150th anniversary of racing at the Spa.
5. Nikon 10x30 Prostaff 7S Binoculars ($196.95)
A set of compact binoculars makes any day at the races more engaging. The Nikon Prostaff 7S comes recommended by B&H Photo-Video’s customer service expert Alexandra Schreiber, who says they’re light, small enough to fit in a purse and good in low light for those gray days or dusk races.
6. Podiatrist-Made High Heels (starting around $350)
Getting dressed up for the track can mean an outfit that needs a proper pair of high heels. And by the end of the day, that’s a drag. But San Francisco-based podiatrist Joan Oloff has created a line of high-style shoes designed for comfort, with padding that distributes body weight throughout the foot and supports the arch. They’re expensive, but you may never have to hear “My feet hurt” again.
7. 2018 Kentucky Derby Glass ($5.99)
Why wait until you get to the 2018 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve to buy the glasses? Wrap them up as a stocking stuffer in December (along with your tickets!) for a gift that makes the first Saturday in May a little easier. This way, no one needs to keep track of the glasses or pack them up on the way home.
8 Pewter Racing Cuff ($31.99)
Here’s a way to shop and support Saratoga’s National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame: This pewter cuff bracelet depicts three sculptured jockeys and horses racing toward the finish. It’s rare piece of horse-themed jewelry that is racing specific.
9. Triple Crown Winners Sign ($30)
Want a reminder of all the Triple Crown winners in history? This hand-painted wooden sign lists all the champions, but no two signs are exactly alike. The color and finish can be customized, as well as the look of the letters that make up racing’s greatest names.
10. Pinhook Bourbon and Rye (prices vary)
The Bourbon Lane Stable partnership has long named its horses after Kentucky’s famous spirit, but now founders Jamie Hill and Michael McMahon have launched a line of actual bourbon (and rye) in partnership with Kentucky’s Castle & Key Distillery. The site’s “Where To Buy” feature will find stores near you.