There may be more than one knockout this Saturday in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest sporting days in recent history.
The headline event for Saturday will inevitably be the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and their'fight of the century.' The $300 million bout with the welterweight belt on the line is shaping up for an epic showdown between two very different boxers. But not to be outdone, the Kentucky Derby on Saturday features one of the most open fields in recent memory.
All of which made a natural synergy for a deal between derby entrant 'Itsaknockout' and Showtime to promote both the horse and the title fight. For Jack Wolf, the founder and one of the principals of Starlight Racing who owns 'Itsaknockout' it was a match made in heaven.
"Never in my wildest dreams,” Wolf said. “As they say, it is better to be lucky than good."
The deal, of course, wouldn't have made sense if the horse's name wasn't tied into boxing.
'Itsaknockout' will wear a fight-themed horse blanket during the week at the barn and as well on race day. Before the race, jockey Luis Saez will have the names of Mayweather and Pacquiao on his pants.
Even the groomers and handlers will wear branding promoting the fight.
“From the perspective of the boxing world, it hits a major event happening in a different sport just hours before their event,” said Steve Rosner of 16W Marketing, the firm that put together this partnership. “The exposure will serve as a reminder of the fight and will reach the 15 million people who traditionally watch the Derby.”
Mayweather even tweeted out about the synergy.
This of course isn't the first time that a horse has generated sponsorship interest ahead of a Triple Crown race. In 2008, Big Brown, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness, had a major sponsorship in place with UPS that generated mainstream interest.
“The deals are different as this is in conjunction with another event. This is an event driven promotion versus an overall company promotion,” Rosner said. “All of the stars aligned for this; the name of the horse, the events happening within hours of each other and the fact they are the two most high-profile events in each of their respective sports.”
'Itsaknockout' took a disappointing fourth a few weeks ago in the Florida Derby but did win in February in the Fountain of Youth stakes race in February against a decent field. The Todd Pletcher horse comes out for the race as 30:1 to win the roses.
"Itsaknockout to win the Derby,” Wolf said. “The fight will end in a draw."