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Lucky in Love: How a good feeling at the Kentucky Derby changed one woman's life forever

Written by Maggie Menderski


Greta Hittle’s mother woke her up excitedly on Kentucky Derby Day in 2014.

She had a good feeling about this. Greta needed to get back to the track.

That urgency had nothing to do with bets her mother wanted to place or even the horse that was favored to win.

It had everything to do with a man they’d met in the Paddock just hours before on Kentucky Oaks Day.


His name was Mike Hittle.

That essentially spoils the end of this story, but I promise you, the journey to get there is well worth your time. Eight years after Greta — who was Greta Aschbacher at the time — met her husband in a fleeting moment at Churchill Downs, she and Mike agreed to tell me their love story. By some miracle, the Hittles found each other in a crowd of 100,000 people on May 2, 2014, and now, they’ve been married for four years and have two beautiful boys.


I first learned about how they met after Greta won a prize in the Kentucky Derby Museum's annual story contest in 2021. She'd only written a few sentences to win, but I felt there was so much more to the moment that changed their lives forever.



Their romance unwittingly starts when Mike left friends at their seats to wander the Paddock, soak in the sights, and place a few bets. He spotted Greta, her sister Sadie, and her mother struggling to take a selfie with a traditional camera.


From Divorcee Dish, this is one of my favorite love stories ever, my friend Greta! It still inspires me.


All copyrights are by the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.

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