American Marketer

Travel and hospitality

Kentucky Derby attracts luxury marketers and affluent clientele alike

April 17, 2017

American Pharoah image courtesy of Kentucky Derby


Longines, Grey Goose and Sentient Jet are just a few of the luxury marketers who are looking to rope in the flock of affluent consumers who are attracted to horse racing.

Horse racing has become a hub for affluent individuals as a fun summer past time, with the Kentucky Derby being the mainstay of the sport. Luxury brands are looking to the sport to capture the attention of these individuals, such as Sentient Jet hosting a special breakfast at the Kentucky Derby as part of its sponsorship.

“Fit is key – aligning with like-minded brands that resonate with your clients or membership-base is essential,” said Andrew Collins, CEO and president of Sentient Jet, Boston.

"Since so many of our Cardholders are horse racing fans and are interested in attending major horse racing events such as the Kentucky Derby, these partnerships are a natural fit and we can focus on curating experiences that elevate the Cardholder experience even further,” he said.

Sponsorships and experiences
Watchmaker Longines, Grey Goose vodka and Sentient Jet are sponsors of the 143rd Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs Racetrack May 7 in Louisville, KY.

Longines also sponsors FEI World Cup North American League

Sentient Jet will be expanding on its partnership with a series of initiatives to greater capture the affluent audience. For instance, a special breakfast with Bobby Flay will be held for cardholders.

The breakfast will take place on May 6 at the 21c Museum Hotel from 9 to 11 a.m. with the famous chef in attendance. Mr. Flay will be cooking a Kentucky-inspired dish with a special bourbon cocktail.

Mr. Flay will also be announcing his picks for the races during the race as well.

Expanded travel services will also be presented as part of Derby Air powered by Sentient Jet as well as additional on-site offerings.

Sentient Jet first hoped to impress luxurians through a partnership with the Kentucky Derby in February of last year.

Sentient also sponsors the horse Nyquist

The private aviation firm was named the preferred private aviation partner of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and Churchill Downs Racetrack in a multi-year agreement in 2016. The high-end clientele that the venue and events attract make it an ideal location for an aviator to try to win over fans and create space in a crowded field (see more).

Horse racing interest
While the Kentucky Derby is the focal point of the horse racing world, with a presence that often extend out beyond the sports niche to a mass audience, it is not the only event that has brands flocking to participate.

British automaker Land Rover rode into the heart of New York as the official vehicle for the third annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show in September last year.

Land Rover was selected as the official vehicle of the equestrian event for three years running. In its role as official vehicle of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, launched in 2014, the automaker displayed its latest Range Rover Sport HSE model and activated a children’s driving experience alongside must-see Olympic equestrians (see more).

Land Rover, Sentient Jet, Longines and Grey Goose are only a few of the many brands looking to make an impact with horse racing.

Sentient Jet is making sure to make an impression with special experiences that stand out.

“Sentient Jet is continually elevating and personalizing the Sentient Jet experience by forming exclusive partnerships with world-class brands that resonate with Cardholders across travel, food and wine, jewelry, and lifestyle categories,” Sentient Jets' Mr. Collins said. “Given many Cardholders’ interest in horse racing, Sentient Jet has partnered with Breeders’ Cup, Fasig Tipton and the Kentucky Derby to offer Cardholders VIP experiences at these events.

“We’ve been an avid supporter of the horse racing community for quite some time now, since it is a space that our Cardholders value, and are continually looking for ways to elevate the Cardholder experience at these events,” he said. “This year, for example, we’ve enlisted Bobby Flay, an avid horse racing fan and owner, to host a special breakfast for our Cardholders at 21C in Louisville the morning of the races.

“He’ll be serving up delicious Kentucky-inspired breakfast dishes alongside his betting tips and picks, and it should be a truly special way for our Cardholders to start the day.”