Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who offered advertising on his jockey pants legs and his collar for sale on the auction Web site eBay, received one winning bid for $15,000 from an offshore casino and will begin wearing the ads during Wednesday's card at Santa Anita.
Winning bidder Betcris.com is an online sports/race book, casino and poker website that offers wagering on everything from horses and sports to entertainment and politics.
"My girlfriend, Jennifer, and I were watching all these news reports about people who offer their foreheads or their stomachs or their breasts for advertising," Valenzuela said. "So we thought, 'Why not have a sponsor for me for racing?'"
According to Valenzuela, the contract with Betcris will last for the next two months with the option to extend the agreement further. He said the $15,000 fee is a starting point and is hopeful for more lucrative options in the future.
"(The price) depends on the company and also who's interested," Valenzuela said. "I priced it reasonably cheaper because it's a testing ground, a trial effort. The last time I did it with (car dealer and horse owner) Steve Taub and No Fear, it was very successful. The public sees it a lot; I ride six, seven eight races a day."
Valenzuela said that advertising is something that jockeys need to pursue more actively and that racing is missing the boat on capitalizing on corporate sponsorships, which are prominent in most other sports.
"It's really important for jockeys to get sponsors," Valenzuela said. "So many athletes we've never even really heard of in other sports have sponsors. There are a handful of jockeys who ride big races and who produce big winners who could attract media attention. Hopefully advertising deals like this one will open more doors for more jockeys.
"I'm looking forward to working with betcris.com over the next few months and am hoping to make a difference in bringing exposure to their company and in return showing them what the value a jockey can be as far as advertising their product."