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Jockeys Guild: Personally Connect with Fans to Promote Horse Racing

Thoroughbred Racing Associations president Scott Wells has seen first-hand how race fans, and potential new fans, connect with jockeys.

Wells, president of Lone Star Park and Remington Park, said a series of commercials featuring the Remington jockey colony have proven popular in Oklahoma City. The spots typically have run at the end of Remington Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse racing seasons, serving to promote the track's casino operation while keeping an emphasis on racing.

"We view ourselves as a racetrack that has a casino as opposed to the other way around," Wells said.

Wells outlined the background of the commercial spots from the audience during a Jockeys' Guild Assembly session Jan. 27 in Hollywood, Fla., addressing ways for jockeys to promote the sport. The commercial spots proved popular on local television and created a social media buzz, where Wells said the track has shifted much of its advertising.

Wells said the track had previously run $500,000 in advertising in the local paper but relations soured when the paper failed to cover a $650,000 Quarter Horse stakes race won by a horse with an Oklahoma owner and ridden by popular rider G. R. Carter.

"They told us we weren't a sport," Wells said. The track cut its print advertising budget and shifted to more online and social media promotion.

Racing Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez said riders have noticed the dwindling coverage of horse racing in the newspaper.

"When I was riding in the 1990s, they would always cover horse racing. Now we can't even get the feature race on the weekend covered except for tracks like Keeneland and Saratoga (Race Course)," Velazquez said. "It doesn't make any sense."

Read More at The Bloodhorse

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