SBD/Issue 21/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Breeders' Cup Altering Advertising After Big Brown's Retirement

Big Brown's Career-Ending Injury Forces 
Breeders' Cup Execs To Rework Some Ads
The Breeders’ Cup is redesigning some of its advertising featuring Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, after the colt suffered a career-ending injury yesterday in a workout prepping for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, less than two weeks before the race. Big Brown was expected to run against '07 Horse of the Year Curlin at Santa Anita Park on October 25, in what was one of the most anticipated horse races in years. Although Curlin has not officially been entered in the race, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner is scheduled to work later today at Santa Anita between races. Curlin’s owner, Kendall Jackson winery owner Jess Jackson, is expected to announce a decision on whether Curlin will run in the Classic on a press conference call this afternoon. “We are certainly disappointed that Big Brown won't participate in the Breeders' Cup," Breeders' Cup CMO Peter Land said. "Thankfully, his injury is one that is expected to heal over time." Land said as a result of Big Brown’s injury, “There were a couple of ads we had to change, mostly on the print side.” But the Breeders’ Cup advertising was focused on a number of themes, including the 25th anniversary of the event, and that it is being held in the entertainment capital of the world, Land said (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).

ANOTHER BLOW TO THE SPORT: In N.Y., Joe Drape writes Big Brown's retirement is "another setback for horse racing this year." Filly Eight Belles was euthanized after breaking down at the Kentucky Derby, and the industry "was scolded by a United States congressional subcommittee in June for its lax drug policies and faulty breeding" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/14). In L.A., Bill Dwyre writes by the time Jackson and Curlin trainer Steve Asmussen met the press yesterday, the "question of the day had changed from 'Will Curlin run?' to 'Will horse racing ever catch a break?'" The Big Brown-Curlin race was "to be a super matchup, a modern-day Affirmed-Alydar." Dwyre: "It was to call unprecedented attention to racing's biggest extravaganza, even if the public is unlikely to ever view the Breeders' Cup the same way it does the Triple Crown" (L.A. TIMES, 10/14). Also in L.A., Art Wilson: "Forget about that dream meeting ... that so many racing fans and industry officials had been anticipating" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/14). In N.Y., Vic Ziegel writes under the header, "Big Brown's Injury Is Another Scratch For Racing World." Ziegel: "The only sane reaction to the news of Big Brown's injury is damn, damn and damn" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/14).

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