Nashville woman assisting Japan’s Derby racing team

Kate Hunter, from Nashville, is here in Louisville for her third Derby on behalf of Japan.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 1:49 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Will this be the year a horse from Japan wins the Kentucky Derby?

There’s a woman from Nashville who’s here for her third Derby on behalf of Japan.

“I’m living proof whatever you fall in love with in middle school, you can create a job if you try hard enough,” Kate Hunter said with a laugh.

That’s when Hunter became fascinated with anime and the Kentucky Derby, especially Silver Charm. Hunter moved to Japan and learned the language and culture.

In 2016, she started her own company called Marugai Racing.

“I recruit Japanese horses for the United States,” Hunter said. “I work with Breeders Cup, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Triple Crown. The goal is to try to bring as many Japanese horses to the US so they can have more options, travel the world.”

While here she’s been translating for the connections of the Japanese horses in the Derby.

She says Japanese and American horses spend about the same time out of the stall, but Japanese horses usually do that with a rider on their back.

In Japan, the big races are on Sunday, and usually on turf.

“It’s like in the States where a dirt horse not good enough, send him to the turf,” Hunter said. “They do the opposite in Japan. Turf horse not quite so good, send him to the dirt.”

We’ll soon find out if they’ll find success on the dirt Saturday.