When representatives from Audible, Inc. first approached the owners of Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) contender Audible about a sponsorship arrangement, WinStar Farm president Elliott Walden had never heard of the company.
"But as I told people about it, they were like, 'Oh yeah, I use them all the time,'" Walden said of Audible, which is owned by Amazon and is the world's largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment.
A New York-bred son of Into Mischief , Audible is campaigned by WinStar, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, and Starlight Racing. The 3-year-old colt won the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and will break from post 5 in the Kentucky Derby at 8-1 morning-line odds.
Although Walden declined to offer details of the sponsorship agreement, Walden said the Audible horse ownership group was intrigued by Audible, Inc.'s concept for cross-promotion of the horse and its products, including a comprehensive social media campaign and television commercials that tie into horse racing, and the company's commitment to contribute to equine aftercare.
"They wanted to be in on the horse and approached us," Walden said. "They shared with us what their vision was and it was an interesting concept. We are very happy with it."
"Our millions of listeners around the world use our audio service to immerse themselves in memorable stories every day," said Audible, Inc. senior vice president of marketing John Harrobin, when the sponsorship arrangement was announced. "We know they'll appreciate following the story of this remarkable horse as it unfolds."
With the hashtag "#GoAudible," Audible, Inc. has a section of its website devoted to the campaign and includes an interactive game, in which participants are asked to choose whether certain names are an audiobook book name or horse name.
In addition, Audible, Inc. has announced that should the horse win the Run for the Roses, the company will allow free downloads of Joe Drape's book "American Pharoah," which chronicles the Zayat Stable runner's path to Triple Crown glory. The Audible, Inc. website promotes horse racing books that are available for download.
Walden said Audible, Inc. has a marketing team of eight on site at Churchill Downs to help promote the initiative. Audible wears a saddle cloth and blanket with the firm's logo, which also has a major presence on caps and other apparel worn by the owners and Pletcher's staff.
As part of its commitment to aftercare, Audible, Inc. donated $15,000 to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance following the colt's Florida Derby win and will donate $25,000 to the organization Saturday. The check presentation is scheduled to take place in the regular winner's circle May 5, after the Churchill Downs Stakes presented by TwinSpires.com (G2), which is carded as race 8.