NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Kentucky Derby may not have ended in Tom Benson's favor yet area businesses say they reaped the benefits of having a local connection to the big race.
Seersucker suits and big hats dominated on Fulton Street, Saturday afternoon.
"It's absolutely vital that you play the part when you're watching the derby, absolutely," a visitor in town from Colorado said.
This annual derby party grew in numbers, as New Orleanians joined together to watch Benson's two horses run for the roses.
"It's really fun just to have something to root for," Delaney Vollmer said.
Apres Lounge marketing director Ray Sutherlin adds, "Because of Tom Benson's horses, it gives more passion to the Kentucky Derby market wise, everyone is talking about it whereas in years past, it was just another event outside the market."
The businesses along Fulton say they prepared for big crowds.
"It couldn't have worked out better, this year momentum going into the event was huge," Sutherlin said.
They knew there was plenty of hype.
"I've heard more talk about buying hats and seersucker suits than I have all year. It's definitely made an impact," Harrah's New Orleans Executive Chef Christopher Brown, said.
The local connection paid off as business was booming. Crowds piled into restaurants and bars to catch the action. Although the race didn't end the way some here would've liked, with Mo Tom or Tom's Ready crossing the finish line first, they say, it was still a race to remember.
"Not too many people get that chance or opportunity," Randy Hunt commented.
Celebrating what could have been for one of New Orleans most famous residents.