NYRA Nixes Hooters Deal
Updated: Sunday, June 8, 2008 3:30 PM
Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2008 2:44 PM
Kent Desormeaux will not wear the Hooters patch on his pants when he rides Big Brown postward in the June Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
The New York Racing Association refused to approve the endorsement deal June 6, citing a “conflict of interest” between Belmont Park sponsors, which include UPS and NetJets.
The national restaurant chain, famed for its busty waitresses whose uniforms include tight-fitting T-shirts and high-cut shorts, was offered a deal with Desormeaux after attempts by IEAH Stable to sell UPS exclusive rights to Big Brown advertising were unsuccessful. Hooters vice president of marketing Mike McNeil said no conflict was mentioned when the advertising request was submitted earlier in the week.
“For them to threaten the jockey with suspension and a fine if he races with the Hooters logo on his pants this close to the biggest race of his life is just mean,” McNeil told the Associated Press.
Though the Hooters logo will not be featured along with the UPS and NetJets logos on Desormeaux’s pants, the restaurant already got its moment in the limelight. Hooters girls, dressed in tank tops and brief orange shorts, showed up at the barn of trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. June 4, when they were part of a photo shoot with Big Brown and Desormeaux.
Unbeaten, Big Brown is making a bid to become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years.
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