Breeders' Cup Limited filed a complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court Oct. 3 seeking to restrain Jockeys International Management Group (JMG) from entering agreements for the display of advertising on jockeys apparel for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races on Oct. 25 at Santa Anita. The suit also seeks to enjoin JMG from copyright infringement of Breeders' Cup marks. Breeders' Cup Limited contends that JMG has engaged in the unauthorized use of its copyright-protected property to solicit advertising for jockeys it claims to represent. The Breeders' Cup contends that the sales materials of JMG indicate that this advertising would be worn and displayed as part of the nationally televised event in violation of the regulations promulgated by the California Horse Racing Board. Advertising on jockey apparel is allowed in California, but the rule was suspended in April for Breeders' Cup Day, CHRB spokesman Mike Marten said.A cease and desist letter has been sent to JMG. According to a statement released by Breeders' Cup Limited, the jockey group has not complied. Breeders' Cup officials feel that JMG is engaging in misleading and improper conduct, using name and marks of the Breeders' Cup for its own commercial purposes.
According to the statement, Breeders' Cup officials feel that a failure to act could encourage ambush marketing that would be damaging to the interests of legitimate Breeders' Cup sponsors. Those multi-million dollar commitments are critical to the promotion and success of the event and its ability to support televised racing throughout the year, the suit contends.