A race fan sips champagne in the paddock at Churchill Downs ahead of the 136th Kentucky Derby horse race in Louisville, Kentucky, May 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT HORSE RACING)
As we pointed out last year when we highlighted Kim Kardashian in her sexy hat, you’ll definitely enjoy the sights over Derby Weekend in Louisville. Women plan their outfits all year, and they’ll have several hats picked out to go along with a hot dress and heels. We love Southern women (actually, all women . . . ) and we were pleasantly surprised several years ago to see so many beautiful women all decked out for the Kentucky Derby. It was true on race day, and also the night before as everyone started partying long before Saturday afternoon. The photo above is one of our favorites as this hottie shows off the goods in a low-cut dress, and we have some more good ones after the jump. If you’re heading to Kentucky for the race, take your camera and send us more pics!
When complete strangers start chucking mini foam basketballs at you on your way down an airport escalator, you know Final Four fever has settled in. Houston was buzzing already, and we were still more than 24 hours away from the tipoff of the Butler/VCU game. Fans were moving through the George Bush Intercontinental Airport with their team affiliations proudly displayed on jerseys, t-shirts, hats, luggage and, of course, directly on their bodies with temporary tattoos and skin paint. Houston was ready to party. And so were we.
After getting settled at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Houston, we met with our trusty Infiniti rep for the weekend, Ray Daniels, and headed to Cabo for a quick bite to eat and a couple of cervezas. Great way to start a great weekend. A few hours later, we found ourselves at the Sambuca Jazz Cafe for some dinner — the lobster enchiladas come very highly recommended — and stuck around after the meal for a few more drinks and some great live music. If you ever are in Houston looking for a place to spend an evening out, Sambuca should be on your short list.
Of course, Saturday was game day, and after grabbing a quick burger, we hopped onto the shuttle bus and headed over to Reliant Stadium (home of the NFL’s Houston Texans) to check out Infiniti’s Tip-Off Tailgate event, with all sorts of games, activities and, of course, food and drinks. We milled around the tailgate section for an hour or so, our celebrity radar already on high alert since we could safely assume that some big names would be in attendance to take in college basketball’s biggest weekend. Sure enough, just before we made our way to the gate, we saw former NFL defensive lineman Warren Sapp hanging with a group of people in a tucked away corner of the event, but we wisely resisted the temptation to snap a quick picture. We’ve made a point of not irritating 300-pound former NFL players, and it’s worked well for us so far so why deviate now?
Shortly thereafter, we had settled into our club seats, center court, ready to take in the action. The stadium, like the city, was electric, with fans from all four teams — Butler, VCU, Kentucky and UConn — ready to cheer their boys on to Monday’s title game. Up first was 8-seeded Butler vs. 11-seeded VCU, a meeting of Cinderellas that got the evening off to a great start. In fact, while Kentucky vs. UConn represented what many fans considered the primetime highlight of the evening, the Butler/VCU game was the more enjoyable matchup. Butler G Shelvin Mack and VCU F Jamie Skeen exchanged baskets for much of the evening, with Skeen topping Mack in points, 27-24, but VCU stumbled late and Mack’s Bulldogs ultimately wound up with the advantage on the scoreboard. And that, as we all know, is the only thing that matters.
Unfortunately, #3 seed UConn and #4 seed Kentucky couldn’t keep the momentum going, engaging in a sloppy game of ugly turnovers, poor shot selection and overall lackluster play. Despite being cheered on by the weakest student-body turnout of the night (seriously, where was Husky Nation last night??), the Huskies escaped with a 1-point win in the back-and-forth contest thanks, in large part, to some strong defense on freshman PG Brandon Knight, but we left the stadium wishing the Huskies and Wildcats had played first so we could have ended the evening on a high note with Butler vs. VCU. Of course, we won’t dare complain about what’s been a fantastic weekend so far. Fans here are anxious to see what should be a prime matchup Monday night between UConn and Butler with all the marbles on the line. Can UConn carry its defensive momentum into the title game or will Butler capitalize on their second-straight trip to the championship round? See you Monday night!
This is the best time of year for many sports fans. Baseball season is underway (and with it, the promise of spring), the NFL Draft is around the corner, the NBA is gearing up for the postseason and, of course, the excitement of March Madness culminates with the Final Four and the crowning of a new national champion.
We’ll be on hand in Houston for the Final Four, along with our friends at Inifiniti, who debuted ads for their sleek new M Hybrid during tournament telecasts this year. Many consider March Madness the greatest event in sports, and to see two Cinderellas fight for the chance to meet two of the game’s most respected programs in the title game will be memorable, for sure.
1. Brad Stevens vs. Shaka Smart
These two are the hottest young names in the college coaching ranks and it will be interesting to see how the chess match plays out. Neither team runs at a blistering pace, but Smart will likely try to push the tempo to take advantage of his team’s depth and athleticism. Butler has struggled against the press, so VCU is likely to use pressure early and often. On the flip side, Stevens always seems to have the Bulldogs executing with precision both offensively and defensively, so look for Butler to get a few easy baskets coming out of timeouts.
2. VCU’s three-point shooting
By any measure, the Rams are on fire from long range in the tournament. After shooting a decent (but not great) 36% on the season, they’ve hit at a 44% clip in the tournament, and it’s been the difference in just about every game. Butler is pretty darn good at guarding the three-point line (32% on the season), so something has to give. If the Rams hit at a 40%+ clip on Saturday, they have a great chance to advance.
3. Matt Howard
This kid stands 6’ 8” and is 230 pounds of bone and muscle, with an emphasis on bone. The Butler forward typically is the least athletic player on the court, but he more than makes up for it with savvy and hustle. Need someone to give up his body to get a loose ball? Howard is your man. Need someone to calmly hit a free throw or a three-pointer in a tight game? Howard is your man. Need someone to awkwardly outplay the other team’s bigs? Yes, Howard is your man. We just wish that he still had his moustache.
UConn’s Kemba Walker celebrates during the second half of UConn’s overtime victory over Syracuse in their NCAA men’s basketball game at the 2011 Big East Tournament in New York, March 11, 2011 REUTERS/Ray Stuibblebine (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
4. Kemba Walker vs. the Kentucky defense
UConn has won its first four tournament games because it had the best player on the floor. Walker is averaging 26.8 points in the tournament, which is no surprise considering he’s coming off a five-game, 130-point scoring spree in the Big East Tournament. Conversely, the Wildcats are #20 in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. That’s not elite, but it’s better than solid and you better believe that John Calipari will have a gameplan that utilizes his team’s rangy athleticism to try to slow Walker down. If UK holds Walker below his tourney average, they have a great chance to pull out a victory.
5. Jim Calhoun vs. John Calipari
There’s bad blood between these two since Calipari’s days at UMass when he beat out UConn for the services of Marcus Camby. Cahoun never likes to lose, but he especially wants to beat the hotshot, and Calipari still qualifies. It didn’t sit well with the UConn coach when Calipari made it to the Final Four before he did, so it would be sweet revenge to bounce Kentucky out on Saturday.
Here’s a photo of Kim Kardashian sporting the obligatory big hat at last year’s Kentucky Derby. When I was invited last year by Axe Shower Gel I was thrilled at the chance to check out Churchill Downs and the Derby. Immediately you think about the thrill of the race, betting on the horses and hoping to see the first leg of an eventual Triple Crown winner. You also know that there will be a ton of drinking and partying on the infield and in the stands.
I was also aware of the tradition of dressing up for the Derby (if you’re in the stands), and how most women would wear big hats and elegant dresses for the event. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for just how many pretty women would be there, and how sexy they would look in their big hats! They were everywhere, and they dresses like that all weekend. Everywhere you went on that weekend, you’d see hot babes in big hats. The whole Southern Belle theme was alive and well, and it gave us some great ideas for future photo shoots! We have to do a model search in Kentucky around the Derby!
You can see more pics of pretty women in these big hats from the Kentucky Derby here, here and here. Now, go study the horses and get ready for the race!