A downpour that caused an early 20-minute racing delay, and a lighter rain during the big race, couldn't dampen the excitement of Saturday's Arlington Million.
Even Krystle Holsapple, who brought her three young sons to Arlington Park for the day of racing, took it all in stride. The Rolling Meadows resident owns a few race horses, and her husband, Hutch, is a farrier, which means he shoes horses at the track.
Holsapple, who celebrated her 26th birthday at Arlington Park, upheld tradition with a chic black net hat. She also came early to grab a table under a roof that served her well during the rain. And she brought plenty of toys for her boys, as well as helpers like her mother, Judes Simonides of Wheeling.
"We knew it was going to rain," Holsapple said. "We'll stick it out -- it'll stop."
Arlington Heights Village President Arlene Mulder, who said she eschewed a hat to preserve her hairdo, agreed with Holsapple.
"To quote Mr. (Richard) Duchossois (Arlington Park chairman), if you don't like the weather, wait 10 or 15 minutes and it will change," Mulder said.
And as predicted, rain came back well before the Million, the day's biggest race. Spectators held their spots, although many pulled out umbrellas.
Even some men wore special hats Saturday, including Kevin Brolsma of St. Charles, a paramedic/firefighter in Carpentersville who was celebrating his bachelor's party with 15 friends. He insisted on entering the best hat contest with the sombrero they made for him.
Kara McKeighan of Naperville was a more traditional contestant with an eye-catching red hat festooned with flowers. Her sister, Erin Orr, had the hat decorated for a trip to the Kentucky Derby.
"My grandparents came into town, and my sister loves the Derby. This is a little closer," McKeighan said. "We are having a blast."
Luann Gold was disappointed that she hadn't dressed up for the event, but she and her husband, Bill, like to pack lightly when they come in from Des Moines. They did, however, remember their rain gear.