The announcement that Big Brown’s owners have sold the sponsorship rights on the jockey’s racing silks to the Hooter’s restaurant chain, has many people shaking their heads. This classy athlete just deserves better than a chain known for buxom waitresses in tight shirts. If Big Brown does win the Triple Crown, this year’s winner’s circle will certainly raise a few eyebrows.
What’s next? Racing was always known as the “Sport of Kings”, and it would appear that jockeys are well on their way look like Nascar Drivers — or riding billboards — with logos splashed over ever square inch? What a shame that they are generally so small! Their physique seriously limits advertising space. Or maybe they can clip logo designs into the rumps of the horses.
Horse racing has been dancing around this issue for several years. In 2004 five jockeys sued for the right to wear advertisements on their turtlenecks and britches at the Kentucky Derby. At the time, J. Bruce Miller, the lawyer for the racing authority said, “We’re concerned with who’ll advertise. It could be condoms, which could impeach the integrity of the sport.” Okay, Hooters isn’t quite that bad, but it’s certainly heading in the wrong direction!
Back on May 22nd, The Onion ran the spoof article “Nike Signs Big Brown to $90 Million Horseshoe Contract.” They might not have been far off the truth!