June 3, 2014 — -- Is California Chrome getting a new pair of horseshoes?
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner signed a deal with sneaker company Skechers ahead of the third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, happening this weekend in Elmont, New York.
Skechers won't be supplying Chrome with any actual shoes, but will be included on trainer and owner team jackets, caps and apparel, as well as California Chrome’s horse blanket and gear, the company said this week.
California Chrome could become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years if he wins the race on Saturday. And if he does, Skechers merchandise will appear alongside the horse in the winner's circle.
The company declined to say how much it is paying for the sponsorship deal, but ESPN reported that it was the largest deal in horse racing since UPS paid to advertise on Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown in 2008.
CEO Robert Greenberg told ESPN the company was purposefully marketing Skechers toward an older crowd with the sponsorship, since Nike had a hold on young shoe buyers.
"Nike is religion for a lot of kids, so it's a tough market to break through," Greenberg said. "We're going after an older audience."