Christine A. Moore tops off Breeders’ Cup with a millinery collection


Hats seem to be as much a part of major horse racing meets as thoroughbreds, jockeys, trophies and flower garlands.

So it’s not too surprising that in May 2013, hatmaker Christine A. Moore was named the first ever official milliner for the Breeders’ Cup.

“Eye-catching fascinators and hats are always on the scene at prestigious international horse racing events,” explains Peter Rotondo, vice president of media and entertainment for the Breeders’ Cup. “Christine is currently the most sought-after milliner in the world, and her one-of-a-kind headpieces have resulted in a cult following among racing aficionados. Partnering with her to be the official milliner of the Breeders’ Cup was an obvious choice for us.”


Moore, who is based in New York, was recently in Los Angeles preparing for this year’s Breeders’ Cup, scheduled Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.

“Each race has its own look,” Moore says. And she should know. The designer has been creating hats under her self-named label for two decades, first for the New York theater and now for television, boutiques and the national horse racing circuit. She travels to tracks throughout the year, soaking up inspiration from the fans and the often palpable energy of each event.

Moore began making hats for horse racing fans by accident, when in 2005 she was asked by a boutique in Louisville, Ky., to put on a trunk show. She quickly caught on to what pleased the dramatically adorned Southern belles attending the Kentucky Derby, and by 2009 Moore’s hats were the official “look of Derby.” More Derby fame followed when, that same year, she designed the hat for Mattel’s Kentucky Derby Barbie doll.

“My job is part of the overall entertainment,” says Moore about the hats she makes for horse racing fans, adding that about 20% of the business is custom. “It’s about helping everyone to have a fuller experience. It used to be about just entertaining the ladies, but recently I’ve found that men are getting more into it. They want this fuller experience too.”

For women, headband-like fascinators or “hatinators” — a hybrid of a hat and fascinator — have been most popular at the track. For men, it’s all about the fedora, particularly at Santa Anita, where Moore says the look tends to be sophisticated and vintage-inspired.

In Los Angeles, Moore’s hats are for sale ahead of the big event. They are currently stocked at Champion gift shop at Santa Anita Park and will be available at the Westin Hotel Pasadena and the Breeders’ Cup Lounge at the Langham Hotel Oct. 29-Nov. 2. They are also available on


All hats are handmade, with fascinators ranging from $135 to $500, hatinators from $350 to $2,000 and hats from $190 to $1,000.