A Lincoln High School graduate is still riding high a week after a unique experience at the Belmont Stakes. Andrew Venrick works for a sports marketing firm in New York.
You may have heard of the horse Justify. This past week, the colt became the 13th Triple Crown winner. And it just so happens, a Sioux Falls-native was there to witness history in the making.
“To see him up close and personal was pretty special,” Venrick said.
Andrew Venrick, who’s back in Sioux Falls for a quick coffee date with family, works for Leverage Agency. The firm that specializes in sponsorships connected their client “Wheels Up” with Justify’s jockey.
“Mike Smith, the jockey, Big Money Mike Smith as they call him, as he crossed the finish line on Justify, one of the most amazing horses in horse-racing history, he was wearing his jockey pants. They were embroidered with the brand Wheels Up,” Venrick said.
It’s prime real estate for the private aviation company. Once the sponsorship deal was done, Venrick raced into action.
“I had to drive to Cherry Hill, N.J., and pick up the pants from the seamstress at the last minute and drive them to his dressing room at the Belmont Stakes,” Venrick said.
Venrick also got to watch the race in the owner’s box and enter the winner’s circle.
“Justify, in the past week, has reportedly been sold for $75 million. He’s the most valuable horse in the history of the sport,” Venrick said.
Venrick is happy to be walking away with one of his most valuable memories.
“I was just sitting there just kind of taking this moment in time in. It was really special to be a part of it as a sports fan and as an American,” Venrick said.
Justify and Venrick’s client “Wheels Up” will be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It will be coming out this weekend.