Monster Beverage Signs Record Sponsorship for American Pharoah

The owner of Triple Crown contender American Pharoah landed a record-breaking sponsorship deal with Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST), giving the energy-drink maker a major presence at the Belmont Stakes.

Sports marketing firm Leverage Agency negotiated the agreement between Zayat Stables and Monster. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but according to ESPN, the deal is the largest endorsement contract ever struck for a single horse.

Monster’s logo will appear on American Pharoah’s blanket, jockey Victor Espinoza’s collar and the horse’s barn at Belmont Park. Owner Ahmed Zayat will wear a Monster cap.

Zayat is quite familiar with the beverage industry. He sold his own company, Al-Ahram Beverages, to Heineken in 2002 before jumping into the world of thoroughbred racing.

Monster, which counts Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) among its investors, is mostly known for its sponsorship of extreme sports like skateboarding and snowboarding. American Pharoah is the company’s first four-legged endorser.

Shares of the company gained a penny to $126.13 in recent trading Wednesday. Monster’s stock is up 16.4% since the start of 2015.

American Pharoah is seeking the first Triple Crown since Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1978.

The 2015 Belmont Stakes, set for Saturday, isn’t going to be American Pharoah’s curtain call, regardless of the outcome. Zayat has indicated that American Pharoah will not retire immediately after the Belmont.

Kentucky-based farm Coolmore Ashford Stud recently acquired breeding rights to American Pharoah for an undisclosed sum. Before news of the pact surfaced, Zayat’s son, Justin, had said American Pharoah was attracting offers of more than $20 million.

Zayat Stables retained 100% of American Pharoah’s racing rights.