NTRA Inks Deal to Sell 'Smarty' Merchandise

NTRA Inks Deal to Sell 'Smarty' Merchandise
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston
Smarty Jones.
Merchandise featuring the image of dual classic winner Smarty Jones, including t-shirts and caps, will be available at racetracks across the country on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day under a deal reached between the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the undefeated colt's owners, Roy and Patricia Chapman.

The NTRA reached a non-exclusive merchandising agreement with the Chapmans Thursday. Under the agreement, the likeness and image of Smarty Jones as well as the blue and white silks of the Chapmans' Someday Farm are licensed. The merchandise will also be available for purchase on NTRA.com. All profits will go to as yet unspecified charities, said Keith Chamblin vice president of marketing and industry relations for the NTRA.

"Initially it will be caps and t-shirts, which will be made available at racetracks across the country for sale on Belmont day," Chamblin said. "We have designs in production and are finalizing that, but we still have to get final design approval from the Chapman's and Triple Crown Productions."

Louisville-based company All Pro Championships will serve as distributor. Chamblin said the number of shirts and hats produced will depend on the response from tracks.

"A lot just depends on what type of reception this receives from the tracks, but we think there's going to be strong demand for Smarty Jones merchandise on Belmont day at both Belmont Park and simulcast outlets across the country," Chamblin said. "Should we be fortunate enough to come out of the Belmont with horse racing's newest Triple Crown winner then we will be in uncharted territory. But we will be marketing Triple Crown merchandise immediately following the race."

The Chapmans also have merchandise deals with Philadelphia Park and HorseHats.com. Reports out of Philadelphia say over 10,000 Smarty Jones hats have been purchased at the homebase of the son of Elusive Quality  . All proceeds from the Philly Park sales goes toward backstretch improvements, as was requested by the Chapmans.

HorseHats.com signed a deal with the Chapmans to sell Smarty Jones merchandise early on the Triple Crown trail. David Williams, owner of HorseHats.com, said Smarty Jones hats and t-shirts have been the best-selling products in the company's short history.

"We usually try and get these horses signed before they become 'Smarty Jones,'" Williams said. "This year we had a lot of horses that didn't pan out. We try to handicap it as best we can. We set up deals with the owners where we give them free hats and pay them royalties. In the case of Smarty Jones it has turned out very well."

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