Edited release from Churchill Downs Inc.Churchill Downs Inc. has teamed with Applied Optical Technologies to create a holographic authentication mark applicable to all officially licensed Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby merchandise. The three-quarter-inch, pressure-sensitive labels will be attached to more than three million Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby merchandise items offered this year by official CDI licensees All Pro Championships, English Emprise, and Jett Sport. The authenticating labels include security features designed by AOT to protect the CDI brand and assure customers they are purchasing official products."When purchasing officially licensed merchandise, our customers expect the highest quality products," said Tyrone Tubbs, vice president of sales for CDI. "This initiative ensures that they will get the 'real thing,' and in the process safeguards the integrity of our brand. Authenticating marks have proven very effective for major sports franchises and leagues, and we are confident this will enhance our licensing and merchandising program."The attempted sale of unofficial or "knock-off" versions of Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby merchandise occurs annually, especially during Kentucky Oaks and Derby weekend in areas around the racetrack. Customers can now easily identify official products by looking for the three-layer holographic label, which features the CDI logo, a background "watermark" of horses and stylized Twin Spires, and a "kinetic" galloping horse along its lower half. The authenticating label is now attached to all licensed merchandise available for sale.