California to Permit Jockey Advertising

The California Horse Racing Board took a major step Thursday toward allowing advertising on jockey silks.

The amendment approved by the board actually would eliminate a prohibition of advertising on jockey attire, owners' silks, and track saddle cloths during the running of a race. The amendment also specifies the size and placement of all logos, labels, and product endorsements, which cannot include tobacco products, weapons, pornography, or any product considered detrimental to the best interest of horse racing. Proposed advertising would require stewards review and approval before a horse is entered in a race.

After one year, the board will evaluate the impact of advertising on racing and decided whether to continue or make adjustments to the program. The amendment must still go through an administrative review, which could take months, before it is official.

The issue came before the board a year ago, but was tabled until jockeys, owners, racetracks executives, and trainers developed a formal agreement for distributing the revenue, according to chairman Robert Tourtelot.

Barry Broad, an attorney representing the Jockeys' Guild, told the board that potential advertisers had been reluctant to begin negotiating any deals while the ban existed. Tourtelot said the board then decided to lift the ban so these agreements could develop.

"The board is not approving or passing on an agreement between the interested parties," Tourtelot said. "We're just giving them the ability to come to such an agreement."

Broad said advertisers will be free to make deals with individual jockeys, owners, or trainers or put together package deals that involve all jockeys or connections with a particular horse.

"If any of the parties objects to the content for one reason or another, those objections will have to be dealt with in those particular negotiations and agreements," he said.