America’s Best Racing promoted the
138th Preakness Stakes
held May 18 at Pimlico Race Course on its new website
featuring fashion, food, celebrities, gambling and insiders' tips. The site focuses on the horseracing lifestyle and competition.
New York nonprofit Jockey Club launched America’s Best Racing last year and is funding it with $10 million over the next five years.
The website is part of a multimedia platform designed to build awareness of thoroughbred horse racing and to pique public interest in the sport, especially among young adults, according to Jason Wilson, vice president of business development of The Jockey Club.
“The sport historically has not been promoted on a national basis in a coordinated way. America’s Best Racing is a recognition that help was needed and how we could fill the void,” Wilson says.
To promote specific races, a tour bus with America’s Best “ambassadors” arrives in cities to give interviews and generate excitement for upcoming events. A tour bus arrived in Baltimore earlier this week with staffers and video crews, and will be on the track for Saturday's race.
“We want to get the flavor of what’s going on at the Preakness,” he says.
Besides the website, America’s Best has hired a communications director to generate stories about the sport and specific races on TV, radio and social media outlets. The platform produces TV programming and distributes videos through the internet taken at race events.
America’s Best is also looking into making an application and games. “We have a game in development and we are looking for people who have existing games about horse racing,” says Wilson.
Founded in 1894 as a nonprofit, the Jockey Club oversees registration of thoroughbreds nationwide and supports thoroughbred racing on a national level. The club’s vice chairman is Stuart Janney III, who is active in Maryland racing and co-owns the Kentucky Derby winner, Orb. Kevin Plank, founder of the Baltimore firm Under Armour Inc, is a member of the club.
The Jockey Club has no connection to the Maryland Jockey Club, which is affiliated with the Stronach Group and runs Pimlico and other racing properties, Wilson says.
The Jockey Club launched America’s Best in response to a study it commissioned. The study showed a declining interest in thoroughbred horse racing, and the impression that it was a sport for the elite.
“We decided to get the word out about racing, that it’s for a mainstream audience,” Wilson says. “We are focused on having the next generation get into the sport.”
Source: Jason Wilson, The Jockey Club
Writer: Barbara Pash