Jockey Victor Espinoza will make a fourth bid to win the Kentucky Derby with his horse Gormley today at Churchill Downs.
But ahead of the big event, the 2015 Triple Crown winner got in some pre-race prep time with another triumphant athlete — a member of his Skechers family, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, former Boston Red Sox baseball star. And the encounter literally swept him off his feet.
“In the jockey room with 2015 Triple Crown winner @EspinozasVictor (aka #littlepapi) & @DavidOrtiz (aka #bigpapi). GO VICTOR!” the Skechers brand tweeted, sharing a hilarious photo of the athletes enjoying a laugh, highlighting their staggering height differences — Espinoza at 5-foot 2-inches and Ortiz standing tall at 6-foot 3-inches. The pair showed their good humor when Ortiz cradled the jockey in his arms.
The images show the sports stars outfitted in Skechers gear while inside the jokey room ahead of Espinoza’s race with his horse Gormley today.
Skechers announced on Thursday that it will sponsor Espinoza at the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, where he will have Skechers branding on his riding apparel.
“We love partnering with elite competitors in any sport and thinking outside the box,” Skechers president Michael Greenberg said. “Victor was riding California Chrome when we sponsored the thoroughbred during his exciting run at the Belmont Stakes in 2014. Now we’re partnering with the man himself as he seeks to achieve his fourth Kentucky Derby victory.”
Espinoza shared that the partnership was organic, as he’s already a fan of Skechers footwear.
“When I’m relaxing away from the track, I’ve always loved how comfortable Skechers shoes feel,” Espinoza added. “As my career really hit its stride on the West Coast, I’m thrilled to have such an iconic California brand supporting me on this incredible journey.”
Meanwhile, Skechers announced last week that it tapped Ortiz as its global ambassador.
“David represents a perfect fit for our athletic and casual men’s footwear collections,” said Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers said. “The respect he garners will be a home run for Skechers. And with a fanbase beyond the United States, especially across the Americas, he’ll help us build awareness around the globe.”