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Kentucky Derby Implements New Rule: Horses Must Wear Oversized Hats

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It’s called fashion.

by Clay Beyersdorfer

CHURCHILL DOWNS, Ky. - In an unprecedented move that has left the equine fashion industry both stunned and furiously sketching, the organizers of the Kentucky Derby announced today that starting this year, all participating horses will be required to wear oversized hats, aligning them with their two-legged attendees' longstanding tradition.

"We believe it's time our equine athletes share in the full Derby experience," said Churchill Downs president Mike Anderson. "These majestic beasts have been underdressed for far too long."

The new rule, dubbed 'Operation Hat Trick,' has reportedly been in the works since a visiting British thoroughbred mistook the event for a 'rather drab tea party.' 

Now, organizers insist that integrating horse-sized hats into the race will "elevate the elegance to a level that befits such a prestigious event."

“It’s a bunch of horses in hats racing at full speed around a dirt track,” said race announcer Larry Colmus. “What could possibly go wrong?”

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Despite organizers’ enthusiasm, the response from the equine community has been mixed. Sierra Leone, the odds-on-Derby favorite, expressed concerns through his interpreter. 

"How am I supposed to see past a three-foot-wide brim? Also, does it come in black?” the horse said. “I feel it slims my muzzle."

Horse hat designers, meanwhile, are scrambling to meet the new demand. 

"We've been working with materials ranging from lightweight straw to sustainable bamboo,” said designer Filly Milliner. “We also got a random call from some guy in New York who said tin foil works well and may be worth looking into. Needless to say, people are excited.”

The rule change has not been without its controversies. Traditionalists argue that the Derby is about speed and stamina, not style, while animal rights activists claim it's just another frivolous human imposition on animals. 

"Why stop at hats? Why not horse monocles or equine evening gowns?" questioned one activist. “Hell, maybe the horses can start wearing heels and standing on street corners too.”

Race officials have assured fans of the event that everything is being done in the most humane way possible.

“This is the Kentucky Derby for Christ’s sake, we know what we’re doing in terms of the humane treatment of animals,” said one official who wished to remain anonymous. “Unless you’re a horse that mysteriously dies at our track. Then we have no comment.”

End of the Bench will have more on this story after we decide which hat to wear.

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