by Jack Shinar
Commercial ads are scheduled to begin showing up on jockey and racing silks with the start of the spring meets in California, but they're a little slow to make the starting gate.
Dennis Nevin, a steward at Bay Meadows, which began a 55-day meet on April 3, said not only have officials not approved any advertising, no requests have been made, either.
"Nope -- not a one," Nevin said. "We've had a couple of jockeys ask for permission to put their names on their pants, and we'll probably approve those. I have no problem with that."
The jockeys are Jason Lumpkins and Javier Matias, he said.
Nevin said he has only heard of one advertiser who is considering the newest form of racetrack marketing. That information came in a meeting with Roy Wood, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, on regulations regarding such advertising.
In Southern California, ads could begin showing up with the start of Hollywood Park's season April 24.
When the CHRB initially approved the request Nov. 30, California Jockeys' Guild attorney Barry Broad said proceeds raised by jockeys could be used to save the Disabled Jockeys Endowment Fund, which he said would otherwise be bankrupt by the end of 2002. Jockey Chris McCarron called it "very much a crisis situation."
Advertising on jockeys' silks gained final approval from the state in mid-February, but Wood directed the policy to take effect with the spring meets to permit stewards time to familiarize themselves with the rules, which permit "advertising, including logos, labels, or product endorsements on jockey attire, owner silks, and track saddlecloths."
Ads are to be closely regulated with respect to size and location. On jockey clothing (pants, boots, turtlenecks) they can be no larger than 32 square inches on the thighs and outer pant legs, 10 square inches on the rear, 24 square inches on the outside of boots and leggings, and six square inches in the front of the neck area.
Advertisements on owner silks are limited to a maximum of 32 square inches on the chest area and six square inches on collars. Saddlecloth ads are not limited as to size and placement.