Jockeys Pass on Preakness Advertising

Jockeys won't pursue sponsorship opportunities in this year's Preakness Stakes.

The Jockeys’ Guild will not pursue sponsorship opportunities for riders participating in the 2010 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Guild national manager Terry Meyocks confirmed May 13.

The decision, which Meyocks said was not impacted by recent controversy over advertising worn in the 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), comes one year after the Guild represented riders in securing corporate sponsorship deals for all three Triple Crown races, from the Derby to the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

“It’s just the economy,” Meyocks said.

In 2008-09, jockeys riding in the Triple Crown Classics were sponsored by NetJets. The deal was presented to the Guild by Churchill Downs Inc. before the 2008 Kentucky Derby and continued throughout the other races due to NetJets’ interest in collaboration throughout the Triple Crown.

This year, 19 Kentucky Derby riders were sponsored by Chrysler on behalf of its Dodge Ram truck line. They wore the logo on their pants in an advertising deal presented to them by Churchill Downs and coordinated by the Guild.

Meyocks said the sponsor was not interested in continuing collaboration through the remainder of the Triple Crown series.

Jockey Julien Leparoux was the lone Derby rider to not wear the Dodge logo on his pants. Tom Ludt of Vinery, co-owner of Awesome Act, refused to sign the contract presented by the Guild but signed a form presented by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that was not approved by the Guild. Leparoux did not sign that contract.

The allocation and division of advertising revenue from jockey sponsorships remains a heated subject in Kentucky, where members of the KHRC met with the Guild May 11 to review circumstances associated with the May 1 Derby deal. KHRC rules committee chair Ned Bonnie gave all parties involved—the Guild, Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association—seven days in which to submit their recommendations on a proposed jockey advertising contract that would be approved by the commission and binding on all Derby owners.