Kate Walsh takes us to the Derby

May 12, 2011 at 8:20 p.m. ET

Private Practice star Kate Walsh was headed to Churchill Downs for the May 8 Kentucky Derby and just before boarding the plane, she gave us a call.

Kate Walsh was put in charge of hosting Mott's Garden Blend at the Kentucky Derby party and a slew of her Hollywood friends flew out for the affair including her Private Practiceco-star Tim Daly.

Tim Daly and Kate Walsh at the Kentucky Derby

Walsh dishes her expectations heading to the Derby for the first time as well as what's next for her hit show Private Practice.

Kate Walsh exclusive interview

Kate Walsh: Hello, Joel, have you heard of the Mott's Garden Blend?

SheKnows: Yes, I sure have and I understand you're pretty excited about it.

Kate Walsh: Most people know Mott's for apple juice.

SheKnows: It sounds like a great way for people to get in their vegetables when maybe that's not such an easy thing to do.

Kate Walsh: Yeah, especially when we're all on the go and moving and shaking and busy with our lives. So it's great. It's delicious. I'm so excited for the old Kentucky Derby. We're going to host different vegetable drinks and salads and fabulous garden things happening. We're going to have Bloody Marys made with the Mott's Garden Blend and then mocktails so it should be a fun day. I think particularly with your SheKnows peeps it should be kind of interesting for the women to know how fabulous this is and also very tasty.

SheKnows: Yeah, and we've worked with chefs and other things in the past to try to figure out how to get vegetables into peoples' meals without getting too "vegetably."

Kate Walsh: [Laughs] I know it's much easier to grab a bag of chips as I well know, because I love potato chips, but this is a great way to get two vegetable servings in one serving. It's low calorie and it tastes good and it's in a convenient form.

SheKnows: Also, have you ever been to the Kentucky Derby before?

Kate Walsh and Martha Stewart at the Kentucky Derby

Kate Walsh: No, this is my first time. I'm very excited.

SheKnows: Can you describe that feeling? It's such an iconic institution here in American history.

Kate Walsh: You took the words out of my mouth. It's certainly one of the great American traditions. I've always wanted to go so I'm thrilled to be able to go with Mott's this year. You're going to love my hat! It is a big deal so I'm totally excited. I've been to horse races before but not to the Derby.

SheKnows: Did the royal wedding craziness give you any hat ideas?

Kate Walsh: No, but I think we should all be moving toward wearing hats on a regular basis. I'm trying to bring back the hat and not just baseball hats. We should just bring them back.

SheKnows: The actual day of the Derby, how would you describe your emotions?

Kate Walsh: I'm very excited and I think not only the aspect, I think the pageantry. It's so exciting and the horses. It's such a great ritual. I think also I feel like I'm in kind of a fairytale because I get to be a hostess too. I get to put on a dress and a hat and be able to host and I think that's what's kind of exciting about having the Mott's Garden Blend suite.

SheKnows: What is it about working with Mott's? You can attach your name to any number of companies or products, so what was it about this particular situation that was really right for you?

Kate Walsh: Well, it felt like a no-brainer -- a perfect fit. Women are always looking for ways to keep healthy but still enjoy themselves. I don't diet. I don't like to expound diets or sort of being rigid with nutrition. As an actor, and as a woman, you want to eat nutritiously and eat well. For me it was a perfect fit. We're really trying to get kids and women and men eating better and healthier. You don't have to sign up for a special program. You don't have to deprive yourself. It's really a tasty drink. It also just happens to have two servings of vegetables in every serving so that to me feels really good.

Checking in with Private Practice

SheKnows: How are things on Private Practice?

Kate Walsh and Benjamin Bratt on Private Practice

Kate Walsh: Things are crazy on the Practice. Lots of stuff is going down. It's getting pretty heated and I'm involved in hot water [laughs]. Lots of drama is in store for the last few episodes.

SheKnows: For you as an actress during this time of year -- you're kind of coming to the end of the season -- is it an exciting time when the plotlines get accelerated and the anticipation goes up?

Kate Walsh: It is. It is for a variety of reasons but as you just said, it's the end of the year. We're all ramping up. The writers and actors and everybody is a little tired and anxious to get through it but at the same time you want it to be really, really good. The fans are all anxious. I feel like the show's been stronger than ever this year. We're really finishing strong this year -- I feel like everything I'm saying is a racing metaphor [laughs].

SheKnows: [Laughs] That's perfect then.

Kate Walsh: I'm really proud and really thrilled and think the fans are going to be super satisfied with what they see in the last several episodes.

SheKnows: Not that anyone can see into the future, but when you first started with Grey's did you have any idea that what you guys were starting would not just develop into one pop culture phenomenon but two?

Kate Walsh: No! [Laughs] When I first came on Grey's Anatomy, I came in at episode eight and at that time they were still changing the show title. We would sit around the table to read it but we didn't know if it was Grey's Anatomy or something else. We better look at the script to see if it had a different title on it. It didn't have a time slot. It was very much like going onto the set of Apocalypse Now. Hey, you guys have been in the jungle a long time [laughs]. It's just so rare that you find a show that you're proud of the writing, you're proud of what the show is and it turns out to be really good and when we put it on air everyone loved it. It was sort of a once in a lifetime situation. I don't think anyone anticipated that or could possibly, and if they said they did, they're lying.