The Kentucky Derby occupies the minds of horse racing fans all over the world. Celebrations begin two weeks before race day with Thunder Over Louisville, one of the largest fireworks displays in the U.S. From the first boom of fireworks to the bugle call beginning the Kentucky Derby, it’s the lead-up to the most exciting two minutes in sports.
Many of the people who’ve played a large role in building the Kentucky Derby’s legacy share their stories with Kirt Jacobs in one-on-one, half-hour interviews on MoxieTalk. From all backgrounds and personal journeys – often overcoming obstacles to arrive at the top of their fields – these inspiring individuals give us an “insiders look” at the true meaning of champions.
“The Kentucky Derby exacts the best of everyone – which makes it so inspiring.” Jacobs said. “And, just like the stories we hear about the colts’ journeys before the race, we get an insider’s view to the people who make it possible. Their stories energize me every time we share them.”
To view interviews and learn more about the stories of MoxieTalk guests who’ve played significant roles in the Kentucky Derby, click on their names below. Their interviews build upon MoxieTalk’s mission: to inspire, educate, and engage the human spirit one guest at a time.
Patricia “PJ” Cooksey, retired jockey. Cooksey has displayed her courageousness and passion on and off the racetrack as a successful jockey and breast cancer survivor. The 1984 Kentucky Derby rider won 2,137 races during her career, which makes her the second in all-time victories for a female jockey. She also received the 2002 Lombardi Symbol of Courage, an award given to significant sports figures who have battled cancer.
Pat Day is a legendary American jockey in thoroughbred horse racing. His impressive resume includes an 1991 induction into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, winning the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey an impressive four times, and 22 appearances in the Kentucky Derby, including his 1992 Derby win aboard Lil E. Tee. Day has won virtually every prestigious race in the sport during his career, before retiring in 2005.
Wayne Hettinger, Producer and Originator, Thunder Over Louisville. Since 1990, Louisville native Hettinger has created this memorable annual Kentucky Derby Festival event on a grand scale, a waterfront fireworks event attracting 750,000 spectators every year. Thunder is the largest annual fireworks display in North America and it marks the kick-off to the Kentucky Derby Festival. The event has earned Hettinger three Emmy awards.
Mike Berry, president and CEO, Kentucky Derby Festival. The events that make up the Kentucky Derby Festival live up to their hype thanks in large part to Berry. He oversees the planning and production of nearly 70 events on the official Kentucky Derby Festival schedule that bring about 1.5 million visitors to the Louisville area each year. His MoxieTalk interview will be available Derby week.
John Asher, vice president of racing communications, Churchill Downs. Read news about expansions at Churchill Downs or spot some beautiful pictures of the twin spires? You probably have Asher to thank. Asher, a former thoroughbred racing journalist and publicist, oversees all communications and public relations efforts at the storied track.
Michael Blowen, founder and president, Old Friends Farm Thoroughbred Retirement Facility. What happens after a horse’s last race? Blowen’s non-profit Georgetown farm gives at-risk racehorses a safe place to live out their retirement. Visitors also have a chance to meet the horses they’ve watched from the stands.
Steve Sexton, past president, Churchill Downs. Sexton passed away in 2016, but his impact on Churchill Downs lasts today. Sexton oversaw a $121 million facility renovation that included makeovers for suites and hospitality areas. Sexton and other MoxieTalk guests “all carved a very unique path to authenticity,” Jacobs said.
The show uses a conversational interview format, allowing guests to reveal the person behind the journey. Guests each have significant success in their chosen fields.
“MoxieTalk” is now on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and you can search for previous episodes by category and watch them on the show’s website: moxietalk.com. Some of the episodes are available as podcasts that are accessible through the MoxieTalk website.
Know of a suitable guest that you feel has Moxie and a story worth sharing? Please e-mail your guest suggestions to: [email protected]