Advertising on Silks on Meeting Agenda

The California Horse Racing Board is scheduled July 19 to consider a proposal that has been dormant for several months but could provide an incentive to horse owners and jockeys.

Advertising on jockey silks was discussed at a CHRB meeting earlier this year, but the proposal included racetracks and the saddle cloths they provide for each horse. John Van de Kamp, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, said track officials no longer are on board.

"We can move forward without them," Van de Kamp said. "This is still a viable idea, and one that can be beneficial to the industry."

The problems with the plan arose after the TOC sent a letter enlisting the support of jockeys, owners, and track officials. At a meeting earlier this year, some track officials said they never received the letter.

Now, it will be left to jockeys and owners to push the proposal. The Jockeys' Guild has taken it under advisement, and the TOC already has stated that its membership supports advertising on silks.

By attracting sponsors through advertising, horse racing may receive more exposure and bring in additional revenue. Jockeys also could prosper from the new relationship with advertisers.

Since jockeys own the pants and owners have rights to the silks, both said they want to ensure there isn't any conflict by perhaps having competitors on different pieces of clothing.

Under the proposal, sponsorships could be obtained either by the individual or through an industry organization such as the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.