All About the Kentucky Derby

Every year on the first Saturday in May, the Churchhill Downs holds the famous Kentucky Derby. This event is a race for 20 3-year-old Thoroughbred horses. All of them must run a distance of one and one-quarter miles. 

Around 155,000 people attend the race every year. It’s no wonder why they do, as the Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. It is also America’s longest continually held sporting event. 

But what got this event started all those years ago? And what can you do if you attend a Kentucky Derby? Read on to learn more.

History and Traditions of the Kentucky Derby 

Thoroughbred racing has been a part of Kentucky’s history since before the state was a state. Frontiersmen loved to race the horses they brought with them into the wilderness. So horse racing was around long before the Kentucky Derby. 

Kentucky Derby History

However, the official Kentucky Derby history started in 1872. That was the year Merriweather Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark, traveled to Europe and attended the Epsom Derby in England. 

This event inspired Clark to create a horse race in America. The first official race took place in 1875. It has been held every year since then without any misses. 

Kentucky Derby Traditions 

What about the origins of those elaborate hats and mint juleps? As for the latter, the history isn’t so clear. The drink started appearing in the 1930s, but references to it existed before then. 

The elaborate hat tradition started in the 1960s. Fashion-conscious women wanted to stand out in the era of television. So the hats got more extensive and more detailed. 

The Horses and Jockeys 

Kentucky Derby horses are colts (male horses), geldings (castrated male horses), or fillies (female horses). All these types of horses must be three years old when racing. And officials encourage horse race safety (no drugs, enough rest, etc.). 

Also, the teams behind the horses select their jockeys carefully. It’s not just about credentials. A jockey must gel with a horse’s personality and racing style. 

The Kentucky Derby Experience 

So what can a person do at the Kentucky Derby? Besides watching the “laps in horse races” (only one in the Derby), you can bet on the horse you think will win. You can also get drunk, eat your fill, and find yourself covered in mud (yes, the Derby can become a wild party). 

Also, come earlier in the week. You can attend plenty of other events before the event—for example, the opening night on the Saturday before the event features races and live entertainment. 

Watch the Kentucky Derby Here

As you can see, the Kentucky Derby is an honored tradition rich in history and tradition. But it can also be a ton of fun. 

Still, if you want to avoid crowds, there are many venues where you can get much of the experience. First, come by one of our many Bout Time Pub locations. We’ve got more TVs than tables and plenty of tasty food and drinks. 

Find your nearest pub on your page.

Bracket Busting Facts About the Final Four

Are you among the 58% of Americans watching college basketball? If so, you know that March Madness is the pinnacle of every college basketball season. But you might not know much about the history of this storied event.

Read on to learn some bracket-busting facts about the Final Four!

A Sports Broadcaster Coined March Madness 

That’s right — the phrase March Madness hasn’t been around forever. Longtime sports broadcaster Brent Musberger mentioned the phrase during a game in 1982, and the name caught on.

The only hitch? A high school state championship program had also laid claim to the phrase — starting in 1939. Fortunately, the NCAA and the high school sports program were granted permission to use March Madness!

Five Is an Unlucky Number

Earning a #5 seed in the tournament sounds like a solid ranking for a basketball program. Good luck winning the tournament, though!

That’s because there has never been a #5 seed to walk away with the trophy. And only three teams have ever advanced to the championship game with that seed.

Kansas City Has Hosted the Most Games

You might be surprised that this Midwestern city ranks at the top. But that’s largely because Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium, which dates back to 1935, scored nine hosting gigs between 1940 and 1964. Today, the Superdome in New Orleans tackles most of the Final Four hosting duties. 

The Courts Originate in Michigan

It makes sense to assume that the college basketball teams simply play on the given courts at a venue. But once again, there’s a surprising twist. The gleaming hardwood courts you see Final Four teams battle it out on are installed especially for the game.

Connor Sports sustainably sources the maple at its mill in Amasa, Michigan. Once the floors are processed and finished, they’re shipped to the courts for installation.

You’re Unlikely to Pick the Winning Teams

Have you been following college basketball all season? Even so, you’re probably not going to score a victory with your brackets. You’re better off entering the lottery if you hope to increase your winning odds. 

That said, a man chose the correct outcomes of the first 49 games in 2019. But that’s as far as he got!

1979’s Title Game Drew the Biggest Audience

If you’ve ordered a pizza with friends while watching a Final Four game in recent years, you may think you’re part of history. But the most-watched championship game on television wasn’t a recent one.

That’s understandable when you learn that the marquee players squaring off in 1979 were Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The Michigan State Spartans, led by Johnson, came out on top. 

Get Ready for the Final Four

When you tune in for the Final Four, you’ll be able to impress your friends with little-known facts about the tournament. You can talk about the special hardwood courts, the history of the term March Madness, and more. Plus, you’ll know better than to let a #5 seed ascend to the championship game when filling out your bracket.

Ready to enjoy some fantastic grub while you indulge in March basketball? Check us out for the best pub in town!