After Kathleen Christopher’s first-place finish in last year’s Hat Contest at the Saratoga Race Course she decided to go out on top and end her 22-year run of competing in the contest.
“I went out a winner,” she said. “That’s what I wanted to do.”
Even though Christopher did not participate in this year’s contest, she still sported one of the hats she wore in a previous competition.
“Where else am I going to wear these hats?” Christopher noted. “I might as well come back here and let people enjoy them.”
Hat Contest winners:
1st Place — Cassidy Powul, South Paddy, Mass.
2nd Place — Isabella Potter, Duanesburg
3rd Place — Shay Tracy, Greenfield
1st Place — Kristen Motyll, Scotia
2nd Place — Maurita Smith, Fort Johnson
3rd Place — Donna Cerasuolo, Gloversville
1st Place — Julie Potter, Duanesburg
2nd Place — Mikayla Schaefer, Schenectady
3rd Place — Anne Marie Mitchell, Stillwater
People seemed to be more enamored with her hat than any of the hats that the competition contestants were wearing.
“I have people coming up to me left and right asking me about my hat,” the Saratoga Springs resident said.
Christopher’s hat, which had American flags jettisoning off it from every direction, displayed celebrity autographs from the likes of news anchor Tom Brokaw and Olympic figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan.
Sunday marked the 23rd annual edition of the Saratoga Hat Contest and featured three different categories.
First, a “Kreative Kids” category for children ages 18 and younger. Then the “Fashionably Saratoga” category, which invited people to show off their most elegant hats. And finally, “Uniquely Saratoga,” which gave people a chance to display their most creative hats.
The winner in the “Kreative Kids” category took home a candy bar designed by Saratoga Sweets. The winners of the other two competitions won a $100 gift card to Lord and Taylor.
Shay Tracy, 11, of Greenfield designed a hat to pay tribute to her favorite female jockey, Rosie Napravnik.
On top of the hat Tracy used a female doll in horse-riding gear to portray Napravnik and spelled out her name in gold glitter on the backside of the hat.
Tracy added that she had been constructing the hat since February and just finished it a few days ago.
“I want to follow in her footsteps when I grow up,” she said. “I think I can be a female jockey one day.”
Donna Cerasuolo of Gloversville, who placed third in the “Fashionable Saratoga” category, waited until the day before the competition before she decided what hat to wear in the contest. She used lace and other materials she found lying around her house to design her hat.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to go with something a little more conservative,” she said. “But then I decided to just go for it and use this one.”
Navigating the concourses both inside and outside the race track was not easy as the third day of this racing season once again attracted large crowds.
John Zuckerman used the contest to honor his late wife Bonnie, who died four years ago from lung cancer.
He sported a hat that she once wore to the race track and placed a picture of her on the brim of the hat.
“I am not in it to win it,” said the Schuylerville resident. “By wearing the hat I am really just honoring her memory.
On the same day, the race course was giving away hats with purchased admission. Red hats that read “Saratoga Race Course 2014” could be seen throughout the grandstand and clubhouse.
“Wow, today really is hat day at the racetrack,” remarked one attendee.