“Joe Hirsch earned and deserved universal respect and admiration throughout Thoroughbred racing. Owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, grooms, racing executives, members of the media, and lovers of racing around the world revered Joe for his immense knowledge, remarkable talent and positive impact on our sport. But those who had to good fortune to know or simply meet him through the years will remember Joe for the incredible kindness he displayed to all who crossed his path. Countless journalists benefited from his guidance and counsel, and the Kentucky Derby and Thoroughbred racing are stronger because of the work and influence of Joe Hirsch. Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby family are deeply saddened by his passing, and mourn that his insightful and impassioned voice is now quiet. One of Joe's most memorable sentences came in a Daily Racing Form piece on five-time ‘Horse of the Year’ Kelso in which he wrote: ‘Once upon a time there was a horse named Kelso … but only once.’ Let us borrow Joe’s brilliant phrase and proclaim today that once upon a time, there was a special journalist and man named Joe Hirsch … but only once.”