A Day at the Races

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

There’s quite a lot going on in this post, so please, stick with me here.

First…an awfully BIG day in horse racing today! Just in case you didn’t know.

 But more likely than not, you’re one of the 15 million + people across the planet who’ll be casting an eye to Belmont Park to see if indeed “California Chrome” fulfils expectations and becomes the first colt since 1978 to capture “The Triple Crown”

California Chrome

  And now-full disclosure right up front. I know absolutely nothing about horse racing or horses so please play along if I use any incorrect terminology. This is just entertainment folks. I’m not  going to pretend I know an Arabian from a Lusitano ( if they are the same breed, don’t even tell me)  I simply felt compelled to write this post today because I’m a sucker for whatever’s in the zeitgeist as much as the next guy.

1) California Chrome’s the name on everyone’s lips right now (did you know his most ardent fans are called “Chromies” and cover themselves in tinfoil? ya they do!)

2) It’s The Year of the Horse in Chinese Astrology, which I’ve been meaning to post about since, like, January.

 and 3) it’s been almost 17 months since I attended my very first big horse racing event, which I also intended to write about and never did.

So, voila!

Step away from the limelight for just a second Mr. California Chrome (It’s going to be ALL about you very shortly!) because this is really  about my day at the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris (which I will refer to as the “Arc” going foreword)

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

 The “Arc” is Europe’s most prestigious horse race and the 3rd richest turf race in the world after the Melbourne and Japan Cups. It runs at the Longchamp racecourse in Paris, having made its debut in 1920.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

If you’re wondering why I have such a bird’s eye view of all the festivities in these photos, it’s because I attended the race with my friend Bo Derek who is invited each year in her position as the Commissioner of the California Horse Racing Board.

Plus, you know, she’s Bo 🙂

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

But holy macaroni that girl knows a lot about horses.

I totally beat her on fashion knowledge though. It’s not even a fair competition actually.


 It was exciting just to see all the statuesque horses being led into the inner circle.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Here’s a really pretty, uh, brown horse, with a super trendy do.


 And here’s Bo being interviewed up on the monitors at the track.

Slim Paley

  The weather was a typical Autumn in Paris combo of sunny, cloudy, rainy but thankfully not cold.

We got our hair blown out to maximum-climate-combat mode and brought umbrellas.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

There was a luncheon, with tables set in brightly coloured hues for jockey silks.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

This British lady at our table was fun for more reasons than just the obvious.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

But make no mistake, for some, this was very serious business.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Quite frankly posting this photo of me from behind just because I maintained a damn good hair day despite the rain.

Even if I do say so myself.

But enough about me

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Bo congratulates the winning jockey.


They were all so cute.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Many were incredibly young

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

 and determined

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very, very determined…

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

One can only imagine the focus and the pressure

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

riding to win, keeping horse and rider safe, trying to please so many people…

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

A happy, muddy face after the race (sincere apologies for not knowing their names)

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

 I already mentioned they were cute, right?

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

and not too shy about having their photos taken.

But I have to admit that as I’m not a horse racing aficionado, my favourite part of the Arc was definitely the people watching

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

I mean…

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Can you blame me?!

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

It was fabulous. Check out the sky high alligator stilettos and custom coloured Birkin.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Dapper with a capital “D”

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

 There were many chic ladies & gentlemen in attendance

This was definitely not their first horserace.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Attire totally ran the gamut

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Everyone seemed to be having the best time-at least early on.

Though no doubt there were some sorry souls at day’s end.

After all, everyone can’t be a winner, no matter what they teach in school these days.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Bo Derek

Bo with her friend Shawn Dugan, who was so funny and knows everything there is to know about race horses.

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

 Another adorable gent

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

And this guy, straight from central casting.

What did I wear? Oh-thanks for asking!

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

A vintage Gianfranco Ferre navy wool riding skirt & jacket with detachable, layered, lace & silk taffeta peplum. My favourite rubber- soled Prada boots turned out to be the perfect choice for the damp weather and walking in the grass.

Note; hair has only slightly increased in volume despite the day being over.

(PS. I think that guy lost his bet)

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

A beauty in the stables

Arc de Triomphe Slim Paley

Party over 🙁

Did I place a bet? No-it’s too long a story involving Lord Byron, a hotel in Portugal, a premonition and French intimidation.

But I think we can say that as long as you don’t lose money at the races you come away a winner, n’est ce pas?

Olivier Peslier

Here I’m with the actual winner; French jockey Olivier Peslier.

Well, I never did get to my “Year of the Horse” images did I?

This was such a fun day for me, revisiting it proved too much of an editing challenge.

 I foresee another equine post coming up in the near future.

In the meantime, GO California Chrome!!




xoxo Sporty Slim 🙂



  1. What a fun post! The pictures you took are stunning. Thank you for sharing a rare inside perspective into the world of international horse racing.

  2. People are making the most of their day at these types of races and have the fun and enjoyment at its fullest. It is something that everyone wishes for but very less are having the chance to have such great, lovely experiences.

  3. Now that was an interesting insight into a whole other world. Shame the weather wasn’t more obligatory. All the handsome horses, silk shirts, cute jockeys. Great pictures.
    As for the people attending, it was great getting a glimpse of the beautiful outfits, and the some, not so beautiful. 🙂 The hats are so much fun. I did have to wonder how the lady who was wearing the sky high purple snakeskin shoes, how her feet must have felt at days end? Your outfit was lovely, sensible footwear, and yes, your hair was fab! I was able to attend vicariously through you, and did not lose a dime. 🙂 Thanks!

  4. What a fabulous, interesting post, thank you for sharing. It was so refreshing to read about something so different.

  5. Love, love, love your suit, and the boots are perfect. Is the skirt slightly ruffled at the bottom? I don’t sew or I would try to make a detachable peplum like that-perhaps with a glue gun……..

  6. The layered peplum!….FAB!! OMG! You look darling and sophisticated in it at the same time!
    I went to Melbourne Cup last year, now THAT’S a hat show!
    Now I’m back in NYC for the Belmont…what a life!

  7. Well from my humble horse farm in south western Ontario, you couldn’t have had a better post to start my weekend! We will be watching Chrome run and yelling at the tv with “beverages” in hand! By-the-way, me thinks your riding habit was the sharpest at the race and congratulations to you and Bo for the hair that went the distance;)

  8. Fabulous fashion starting with you my dear and oh my the people watching is my favorite at the races! Love the jockey silks and the horses those divine creatures!! An amazing day all in all! Envious of your hair……

    The Arts by Karena

  9. What a great production!!! Thank you for the trip.
    You looked beautiful — great California representation.
    Now come on California Chrome – ride- em- cowboy.

  10. Okay Missy – of all your posts, I have never laughed out loud so many times – really – big smile pasted on my face, all teeth showing – from beginning to end. Lovely …………you are the winner!

  11. Fabulousness, love seeing the jockeys, the gorgeous horses, the wild hats and outfits, your fabulous peplum, the guy with the cigar and the remains of the day! Feels like I was there, and I didn’t even have to get dressed.

  12. I wanted to be a jockey when I was small. Then I grew up. Up to 6’2″. Dream over. However, I did own and breed a racehorse. I love the European racing! Lovely pics, thanks for the look into a day at the Arc.

  13. That was a fun Saturday morning post to read!

    Once a year, usually a sunny Saturday in August, my friends and I go to Hastings Racetrack in Vancouver. It’s a tad different than your experience, as it usually involves lots of draft beer, hotdogs, running inside between races to play the one-arm-bandits, and foolish $5 parlay bets on really long shots in the hope of winning a jackpot…..best day ever!

    You’d also appreciate the fashion and people watching at Hastings park (although in a completely different way), and don’t tell me you’re not just a tiny bit jealous that our racetrack has one-arm-bandits!

    Go Kings!

    • Yes, jealous-I get ridiculously excited playing the one arm bandits (I actually miss the good old days when you did have to pull the lever and scoop coins into a bucket-the fun lasted so much longer!)

  14. I JUST LOVE HORSES!! Your post had me laughing till the tears rolled…I made my husband listen to THE WHOLE THING..even when I hiccuped!! I’ve got my “Cherry Garcia” ready and….”THEY’RE OFF!!” franki

  15. Pretty ponies, cute Jockey outfits and very dapper dudes in their Bowler hats. The people watching and outfit viewing would have held my attention:). Fabulous hair day, and your outfit was knock out perfect!! I just love that jacket with the lace!! Stunning.

  16. GOSH. First of all, let’s just get this out of the way: you. Are. Gorgeous. Your hair and that face and your outfit {is that a lace peplum?!}. Just ALL beautiful. Next, you were like the intrepid Bill Cunningham reporter/photographer that day! You got some amazing, bold shots. Love all the cute jockey close ups ~ they are obvioisly big stars in their world, but they never get the spotlight {always second banana to A HORSE! And besides that, I’ve always felt so badly for jockeys ~ they have to weigh next to NOTHING in order to do their job. Talk about pressure. I’m sad that a cheeseburger is probably never a part of their life}. Okay, and last but not least, all the wonderful, amazing fashion ~ combos you definitely do not see everyday! But what makes me so happy about this post and coming back to Slim Paley Inc, is that you share all of the fabulousness this with us! With humor. Thank you, thank you! This blog is so much fun!

  17. You looked gorgeous, simply gorgeous, dahling!!!!! I can see why you loved the people watching, Me too!
    I loved the two gents in the derbies. How dashing!
    Loved the Hermes Scarves! I want one for my 70th!
    What a fun time for you and your friend, Bo!
    This was different and unusual and very very fun. Thank you.
    Warmly, Leslie Magidsohn

  18. Thank you so much for sharing this! The hats, the outfits, the jockeys and their colors- the stunning horses! Just a visual treat and an amazing experience. Thanks for “virtually” taking us along 🙂

  19. Slim Paley, you look GORGEOUS! I loved that adorable, feminine outfit that you wore that day. To tell you the truth, I would have worn the same thing! And, you have fabulous long blonde hair! You must pay an arm and a leg for hair care products.

  20. Absolutely loved this post. My favorite ever of yours for so many reasons–let me count the ways——–1. love being taken along on such a fabulous trip that I will never have a chance to do myself, 2. love your photography!!!-especially that you turned your lens on the subjects of interest to me–the gorgeous and gorgeously over the top fashion, the men in their fabulous bowlers, the jockeys, the horses, the whole French scene, and 3. love, love, love your hair and outfit—perfection!!!!!!!!!

  21. Really enjoy the fun that you capture – those fleeting moments captured, photographed so beautifully, then shared with the world. Always a pleasure … Thank you !

  22. Miss Slim,
    You really do have the best blog in town, delivered with oodles of wit and charm. Ive enjoyed reading these posts so much over the years. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Sporty Slim, You are adorable and what a fun post! I loved your outfit. What a fab jacket. You hair was amazing!! Is that the French salon blow-out? Wow. Such an eclectic crowd. I would have been snapping pics like crazy too. You got some great ones. The matching Birkin and heels! Gotta love those cute jockeys too. I’m so glad you dug this out and shared it! What a gem. Bummer at California Chrome though!!
    x Kim

  24. You are a stunner! So very beautiful! I’m so glad you shared pics of you and that glorious mane of yours. I am also happy you shared your outfit info. I saw the first pic and wished you had gone into more detail, then you (obviously) read my mind and shared what you were wearing. Love the lace peplum, riding skirt, jacket, and boots. I have major Prada love! So perfect! Seeing a “New Post” email in my inbox from you gives me the same feeling I get when opening a fabulous gift. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with us.

  25. You look gorgeous and elegant….wish I could say the same about the rest of the Parisian race goers. And there I was thinking Paris is the fashion capital of the world….go figure!

  26. What a great post. I spent a day ducking in and out of the rain today showing a guest from the lower 48 around my part of Alaska. Good hair is a must have. It stayed that way, too. We had a couple horses when I was a kid. I still don’t know anything about them either. I loved the people watching photos the best. I get your posts in the evening. It’s always a beautiful way to end the day. Thanks, Slim. Gwen

  27. Loved your hair and outfit!! You looked smashing. I would love to see you write a book about fashion… And how to decorate a house for the challenged like myself. I struggle with editing… And I love the pics you have previously posted of your house. Love your writing style. This was a great post. Cheers!

  28. You Fashion Horse, You!
    Great Photography.
    Would you be willing to share on another post some styling secrets–hair, and make-up?
    Mine always seems to melt… :/
    (Last year, you shared skin ceuticals spf, affordable and very nice)
    (also love your self deprecating humor in other posts: The Utah Selfie)

  29. Loved all this! You are such a darling, as always. All my knowledge of horses is under the hood of a car. If I had a horse it would be in the house with me….too soft hearted. But thanks for keeping us up to date with the horse world. LOVED that every man had on a suit and tie

  30. Love this post! And I’m with you – the people watching is the best part! How could it not be, with all that plumage?? What an incredible experience. Thanks for taking us with you, as always. AND you looked incredible – maybe your picture showed up on a few international blogs?! (As an example of a great hair day, of course!) 😉

  31. Thanks everyone for the sweet compliments-makes a girl’s Monday for sure! As you know, I don’t post photos of myself on the blog very often, but trust me, it will be an even rarer occurrence if I ever post a BAD one-let’s be real!! (and trust me, there’s plenty of them 🙁 )
    On another note, too bad California Chrome didn’t secure The Triple Crown after all the hype and excitement but at least the Kings won!
    I’ll be watching again tonight (wearing my Jonathan Quick jersey) hoping for a triple game win at least in hockey.
    GO KINGS!! <3

  32. Your photos are FABULOUS of the people watching!Loved the big brim hat with just the black velvet bow!Your outfit was KILLER!I loved FERRE……..I think he was one of my most favorite designers of all time!You looked smashing and timeless…….as for your dear friend BO?I would never have recognized her had you not pointed her out!She too looks fabulous.I bet you girls had a wild time!Thanks for sharing and those women and their shoes and hats…………FUN FUN FUN!

  33. You looked fantastic love a vintage Ferre,,, living just near Randwick Racecourse in Sydney I go to the races quite often and actually went to the yearling sales this year ! High priced and high quality horseflesh.

    As Marsha says theres always the Melbourne Cup , the first Tuesday in November, the race that stops a nation…literally !

  34. Your photos are fantastic! They really did seem to capture the color and excitement of the event. You and Bo were quite fetching. Looks like you had the best time. Thanks so much for sharing!

Would love to hear from you!