And they're off! ... For a stylish ritual of early spring, that is, as an elegant crowd gathered Saturday on the Great Lawn of the Pequot Library for the annual Derby Day fundraiser.

Echoing the style of the elaborate parties for which the Kentucky Derby is known, many of the women in attendance wore distinctive -- even fanciful -- hats. There also were tailgate treats, themed cocktails and vintage vehicles to set the tone for the soiree leading up to the broadcast of the big race.

The sixth annual Derby Day fundraiser at the Pequot was organized by chairmen Graham and Jane Michener, with the support of a committee of eight.

Awards were given to guests for best outfits, best hat and most creative tailgate. There was also a silent auction with items that included a Gray Goose brunch, a dinner at Artisan, Broadway tickets and wines.

The race itself was broadcast on a large-screen TV as well as projected on a pull-down screen as guests cheered for their favorite thoroughbreds. This year's race was the 141st, with American Pharoah, ridden by Ramon Vazquez, crossing the finish line first.