HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — There can be great value in a name.
Audible, a Newark, N.J.-based company that produces and sells audio entertainment and educational programming on the Internet, saluted top 3-year-old Audible on Florida Derby day by making a $15,000 donation to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Audible – the Amazon company, that is – presented the check halfway through the star-studded 14-race card that culminated in New York-bred Audible’s appearance in the $1 million Xpressbet Florida Derby on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
“We at Audible the company love Audible the horse,” said John Harrobin, senior vice president of marketing. “We’ve been following him and his journey here. We couldn’t help but want to be a part of it. Our customers listen to incredible stories every day all over the world, and this seems to be a great one.”
Audible, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, headed a field of nine as the 9-5 favorite for the Florida Derby. The bay son of Into Mischief burst onto the national scene when he dominated the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes by 5 ½ lengths on Feb. 3 at Gulfstream in only his fourth career start and his first test against graded-stakes company. He pulled away in the Florida Derby later in the day to win impressively and punch his ticket to Louisville for the first jewel of the Triple Crown.
Stacie Clark, operations consultant for the TAA, said of the donation: “It’s great to have this part of our business recognized. We have an exit plan for horses and we are really appreciative of Audible for recognizing this. We want to see that these horses that we breed and race are cared for after they race.”
The timing of the announcement could not have been better since the Florida Derby commands so much attention as one of the most important Triple Crown prep races on the calendar. The Grade 1 contest has produced three of the last five Kentucky Derby winners.
“It’s a win-win. We are not only getting funds for TAA, but we also are getting lots of awareness, lots of recognition, which for any charity is important,” Clark said.
The TAA, established by Jack Wolf in 2012, distributed $2.5 million last year to 64 accredited organizations that operate 180 facilities. Nine aftercare organizations are based in Florida.
Clark believes a fundraising goal of $10 million is attainable. “We need to recognize that this is part of doing business and it’s important to our industry to have this,” she said.
Clark is encouraged by increasing fan support.
“We find that more and more fans are giving back when they cash a winning ticket,” she said. “I think it is important to fans. No one wants to come to the races and not have a good feeling.”