The Derby horse are here early this year, and so is the media throng. For my interview with Jennie Rees for the Rusty Satellite Show this week, I went with photographer Bill Brymer to Churchill Downs’ backside, and recommend it highly. This is before all the tents, all the media, all the hangers-on, so it was just me and Bill hanging with the horses, their connections and people who know the game.
Bill got the shot above of Derby contender Mohaymen, who was the story of the day. We watched Jennie interview a Japanese trainer, who has Lani in the big race, and tried to keep up with Jennie as she darted from one thing to another.
Jennie’s story is both inspiring and telling of the media climate. She was offered a buyout at the Courier-Journal after three decades — which included a full year of salary — and is taking advantage. She’s already got multiple sources of income and made the key decision that her career should be more focused on racing than on journalism. Of course, I’ll be interested to see how the C-J covers the track without its key turf writer, who will be spending parts of Derby Day reporting for WAVE-TV.
You can hear the interview here:
Biebs Was Here: You may not have heard that Justin Bieber was here this week. I picked up a couple of young girls crazy for the young man at the Seelbach in a Lyft. They were very excited. There were thousands just like them around the Yum! Center. They told me they (their parents) paid $2,000 for 2nd row tickets and a Meet-and-Greet with Bieber, which they said he canceled.
All SET For Great Dining: You can also hear my talk with Joey Wagner on the show, including his description of his new SET restaurant, now setting up in the former Cunningham’s space across the street from the Palace. Joey is the king of celebrities, and vows that he’s going to be inviting Palace performers in for pre- and post-concert meals, prepared by a great chef. Reserve me a table.
THE Book on the Kentucky Derby: I met this week with Cathy Shircliff, publisher the new book, The Kentucky Derby, by Bill Doolittle. You have to check out the DigiMark technology that comes with it that allows you to see video on your phone by simply hovering over a page in the book. Doolittle, who was among the media checking out Mohaymen at the track Wednesday, will be signing books at the Readers Corner on Frankfort Avenue tonight at 5.
The Chris Thieneman Trial: Did you notice that when he was arrested, Chris Thieneman’s face was the lead story on every TV station’s newscast? He faced accusations from an ex-girlfriend that he assaulted her in a business some 32 months ago. Well, he was found NOT GUILTY of the most serious charge Tuesday, which went unnoticed in TV newsrooms. And a C-J story led with a misleading headline — “Thieneman Convicted on Wanton Endangerment.” Read my take here.
Servo is New 2 This: It was great to see that Greater Louisville Inc. is focused on Talent Attraction enough to hire New2Lou founder and Rusty Satellite Show veteran Stacey Servo. A quote from Deanna Epperley Karem in the hiring release: “Being a transplant to Louisville herself, we think she brings a wonderful balance of real-life experience and interpretation, as well as, a technical skillset that can help us with our internet and social media strategies around attracting folks to Greater Louisville.”
Hatmaker Tops the List in Jtown: After an intense two-week search, Mayor Bill Dieruf and the Jeffersontown City Council selected one of their own to replace Rick Sanders as Police Chief. Major Ken Hatmaker has been with the department since 2001. You can hear him on an up coming Jeffersontown Chamber podcast.
Some Fresh (Fire) Barbecue: Speaking of the Jtown podcast, listen in to my talk with entrepreneur Matthew Saltzman, a business turnaround specialist who is breathing new life into the FireFresh Barbecue franchise. I hit him up for a free meal at the ribbon cutting this week at the new store on Blankenbaker. Here that here:
A Champion for Breakfast: My pals in the Breakfast of Champions came up with a great speaker for our May 10 event at the University Club. It’s Harry Pickens, the renowned jazz pianist, who promises to play some piano for us while also offering an inspiring message about reducing stress and living life. I’ll post the Facebook invite soon.
It’s Child Abuse Prevention Month: So that’s the topic of my health column in Insider Louisville.
Chocolate Whiskey Slushies for Everyone: Expect some surprises at the 3rd Turn Brewery as Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey and the Rusty Satellite Show present our second “Cocktails with Champions” at J-town’s coolest bar, 3rd Turn Brewery. When it’s over, you can walk home with me.
Thunderous Applause: Enjoy the fireworks Saturday. I’m especially interested in hearing the music, for the first time provided by Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra.