Clothing technology has galloped up to the racing world and four riders in the upcoming Kentucky Derby will be wearing an innovative new type of racing wear.
The developer of Speed Silks, Matt Darby, says having aerodynamically engineered fabric surrounding the jockey that reduces drag, can make all the difference between going down in history or simply being a runner up. They are made from Aero Dimplex material, and the line also includes helmet covers, jockey pants and boot sleeves.
Darby, of Darby Racing Technology LLC, says the fabric is textured much like a golf ball with dimpling that moves air across it with minimal resistance. Drag is as important in horse racing as it is in auto racing or cycling, he says.
Four riders will go to the post wearing Speed Silks at the historic oval at Churchill Downs on May 3 for this year’s Kentucky Derby. They are Hoppertunity, with Mike Smith; Vicar’s in Trouble with Rosie Napravnik; Chitu with Martin Garcia; and We Miss Artie ridden by Javier Castellano.
“When race outcomes like the Kentucky Derby can be determined by a nose or neck, having an aerodynamically engineered fabric surrounding the jockey that reduces drag, can make all the difference between going down in history or simply being a runner up,” Darby said.
Speed Silks also offer owners some creative graphic options as they are colored by dye sublimation rather than the traditional sewn-on patchwork. This further reduces weight and drag caused by seams.
“The entire team at Darby Racing Technology is thrilled that our Speed Silks jockey wear will be featured in the Kentucky Derby –and possibly be in the winner’s circle– within a year of their introduction,” said Darby. “The first Saturday in May can’t get here quickly enough.”