Pictures on this page and a more detailed history of Racing Silks can be
found in The Benson and Hedges Book of Racing Colours,
Published by the Jockeys’ Assocation of Great Britain.

All sporting events and teams have some sort of uniform to identify the player. In horse racing, the uniform the jockey wears for each race is referred to as “colors” or “silks”. It consists of a specifically styled shirt and a cap that covers the rider’s safety helmet. The track announcer calls the races using the colors of the silks to help identify the horses as they race around the track. Silks or colors signify ownership.

The pride of owning a race horse and watching your very own silks cross the finish
line in front of the rest of the pack is an unforgettable experience.

The win pictures, photos in magazines and newspapers, all depict the owner’s silks. Few can actually identify the horse but all readily recognize the silks.

1762 is a year in history, when the English Jockey Club in Newmarket England, officially requested racing

horse owners to have specific colors for their riders to wear, allowing them to be identified as they traveled around the race track. From that time on, racing silks have been a very visible part of horse racing, representing the pride of ownership and celebrating the success of winning.

In the 1700s silk fabric came all the way from the orient to Europe in beautiful, vibrant colors to be sewn into the racing silks of the day. Some were constructed of the finest woolens.

Today, more durable and practical fabrics are used (typically nylon) and they are still individually sewn using distinguishing color combinations as requested by individual owners, partnerships or trainers. Two of the most famous silks are those of England’s Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Her Majesty The Queen.

Whether it is the Kentucky Derby or a local race track, watching in person or viewing on television, silks bring to life the sport of horse racing and can take the excitement right into your home with a colorful win picture.

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