Entertainment & Sports Law

Big Brown Licensing Lawyer Especially Eager for Triple Crown Win


Lots of horse-racing fans would love to see favorite Big Brown come in first at the Belmont Stakes in New York on Saturday for a rare Triple Crown win.

But Harrisburg, Pa., attorney Michael Doctrow and others at his law firm, McNees Wallace & Nurick, are especially eager to see the acclaimed thoroughbred cap his wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with a victory in the final race in the trio. That’s because they represent the horse’s owners concerning trademark and licensing matters, reports the Patriot-News.

This is the fourth time the firm has handled publicity-related work for a famous racehorse with a chance for a Triple Crown win. However, it developed the practice niche by accident, Doctrow tells the newspaper.

“We were representing Roy Chapman, a Philadelphia car dealer, on licensing matters, and Chapman and his wife just happened to be the owners of Smarty Jones,” he explains. “Smarty Jones was the first horse in years to be promoted, and the Chapmans sought our expertise.”

Smarty Jones became a star after winning the Derby in 2004 and then running away to a record victory in the Preakness by more than 11 lengths. Although he lost the Belmont, Doctrow says his owners raised a lot of money for charity by selling hats, T-shirts and other items.

If Big Brown wins, it will be the first time since 1978 that a horse has won the Triple Crown. It will also, in all likelihood, result in significantly more legal work.

“We typically work on licensing merchandise such as clothing, artwork and collectibles, and assisting with endorsement deals and movie and book rights, Doctrow says in a law firm press release. “If Big Brown wins the Triple Crown, the volume of this work will increase dramatically.”

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