Officials for Visa, the title-sponsor of the Triple Crown, are angry about the advertising worn during the Belmont Stakes program by three jockeys, including Jerry Bailey, who won the final leg of the Triple Crown aboard Empire Maker.
A spokeswoman for Visa called the jockeys sponsorship deals with Wrangler and Anheuser-Busch "ambush marketing," Daily Racing Form
reports. Loren Hebel-Osborne said the credit card company was caught off guard by the advertising patches and has been in contact with Triple Crown Productions, but no further action is planned.
"We're against ambush marketing," Hebel-Osborne said. "We've made our position known, and that position is that we're not happy about what happened."
The deals with Wrangler and Anheuser-Busch were struck by the Southern California-based Jockeys Management Group in accordance with the rules of New York. Visa's contract as the title sponsor of the Triple Crown ends in 2005. Hebel-Osborne said she hopes the issue is resolved before the contract is renewed.
Phone calls from The Blood-Horse
to the offices of Visa and Triple Crown Productions were not immediately returned Thursday morning.