Innovative Jockey Silks Hit Grand Slam

Accelerate’s Breeders’ Cup Classic win follows Justify’s triple crown

Amarillo, Texas – November 5, 2018  —  Jockey Joel Rosario was wearing an innovative style of jockey silks in Saturday’s $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G-I) aboard Accelerate: Speed Silks®, the same brand worn by Mike Smith in all three of Justify’s 2018 Triple Crown races.

The new style of jockey silks –launched a little more than five years ago– are made entirely of Aero Dimplex®, a patented aerodynamically-engineered technical fabric that is dimpled to reduce drag. It’s used in uniforms for other speed sports like cycling, downhill skiing and speed skating, but Speed Silks are the only jockey silks that use Aero Dimplex.

copyright Darron Cummings AP

Speed Silks inventor and company owner Matt Darby says he’s not surprised by the success that his customers have had on the track, but that he didn’t expect to see so many huge wins so quickly after opening his doors. In addition to this year’s Kentucky Derby (G-I), Preakness Stakes (G-I), Belmont Stakes (G-I) and Breeders’ Cup Classic wins, jockeys wearing Speed Silks have also won the 2017 Belmont Stakes, 2016 Kentucky Derby, 2016 Preakness Stakes and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“That’s pretty good for a product that didn’t even exist five years ago,” Darby says. “We’ve been blessed by having some very talented trainers, aggressive owners and fast horses using our product, but I don’t want to undersell the importance of aerodynamic drag in horse racing; it’s critical – more important than weight, in fact.”

Darby says the aerodynamic advantages of his product were a tough sell at first, but that steady growth has been an encouraging sign. 2018 has seen some of the product’s fastest growth ever.

“The Aero Dimplex fabric allows us to make silks that are definitely distinctive, but don’t go too far afield from what people would clearly identify as jockey silks,” Darby says. “As much attention as we paid to making them as aerodynamically-efficient as possible, we get so many orders from owners who just like the way they look.”

The silks have a dimpled texture which, when combined with Speed Silks’ form-fitting design, greatly reduces skin friction and form drag. Colors and markings are applied to the silks via dye-sublimation, a process that dyes the color directly onto the fabric, making the silks entirely seamless, no matter how complex the design.

Darby says jockey feedback has been universally positive; Unlike the Spandex or Nylon used in other silks, Aero Dimplex fabric is thin, breathable and it wicks moisture away from the skin. This summer, Speed Silks added a new technology to its product: a treatment called Coldblack®, which blocks and reflects almost all ultraviolet light. Speed Silks now help keep the jockey much cooler in direct sunlight.

Speed Silks are patent-pending. The product lineup includes silks jackets, racing helmet covers, jockey pants and a product unique to Speed Silks: Aero Dimplex boot sleeves. Examples of the product can be seen at SpeedSilks.com/Gallery. Matt Darby is available for comment at (806) 570-6920 or MJDarby@me.com. Customers wishing to inquire about Speed Silks can e-mail info@SpeedSilks.com or call (806) 333-8589.  Asia-Pacific customers e-mail info@horsefabulous.com.au.

High-Tech Jockey Silks Part of Mike Smith and Justify’s Successful Triple Crown Victory

KYDby_CoadyPhotography

Coady Photography

Amarillo, Texas – June 13, 2018  —  Jockey Mike Smith was wearing a new type of high-tech silks in all three legs of his 2018 Triple Crown bid. Speed Silks® brand jockey silks are made entirely of an aerodynamically-engineered, patented technical fabric that’s already used in speed sports like cycling, speed skating and downhill skiing.

WinStar Farms —whose colors Smith wore aboard Justify in the 2018 Kentucky Derby (G-I) and Preakness Stakes (G-I)— has been buying and using Speed Silks since the spring of 2015. China Horse Club became a customer in the spring of 2017; Smith wore their colors in his 2018 Belmont Stakes (G-I) win.

The 2018 Triple Crown wins are the latest in a number of very high-profile wins by jockeys in Speed Silks. Since the product launched in August 2013, Speed Silks have been on the winners of two Kentucky Derbies, two Preakness Stakes, two Belmont Stakes and one Breeders’ Cup Classic (G-I).

“I’m flabbergasted by the amount of success our owners have had in such a short amount of time,” says Speed Silks inventor and owner Matt Darby. “We knew we had a great idea when we started the design process several years ago, but we weren’t sure how readily the industry would accept it. But more people in Thoroughbred racing are adopting the philosophy of ‘marginal gains,’ and thankfully they’re now starting to pay attention to the importance of aerodynamic drag. It’s critical. More important than weight, in fact.”

Justify winning the Belmont – AP source

Speed Silks were designed from the ground up with two priorities: reducing aerodynamic drag, and jockey comfort. A key to both is the patented technical fabric Aero Dimplex®. The textile is dimpled —much like a golf ball— which reduces both form drag and skin friction. [Darby can explain both at length; his contact information follows.] It also allows the use of dye sublimation to apply the colors and markings of each owner’s specific silks; that eliminates the need to sew the markings piece-by-piece. Instead, they are dyed directly into the fabric. Built with a form-fitting pullover design, Speed Silks are entirely seamless, further reducing weight and drag.

“The seamless design was adopted entirely with aerodynamic drag in mind,” Darby says, “but it also gives the silks a very distinctive, high-end look that owners love. That was a surprise early on: a lot of owners seemed more excited about the way the silks looked than their aerodynamic properties! I’m not complaining, mind you.”

Aero Dimplex is thin, very breathable, moisture-wicking and very stretchy. “Regarding comfort, jockey feedback has always been overwhelmingly positive,” Darby adds. Speed Silks this summer will add a new feature to its products: Coldblack®, a patented textile treatment that blocks and reflects ultraviolet light, keeping the garment and the wearer cooler in the sun.

Previous major wins in Speed Silks include 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern (jockey Martin Garcia/owner Kaleem Shah), 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist (Mario Gutierrez/Reddam Racing), 2016 Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator (Kent Desormeaux/Big Chief Racing) and 2017 Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit (Jose Ortiz/Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners).

Darby’s inspiration to build better silks came at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona. He had just accepted a marketing position at the American Quarter Horse Association in Amarillo, Texas. Most of his work was on behalf of the racing department, and so the Association regularly sent him to tracks across the country. During his visit to Turf Paradise —the first horse race he had ever attended— he asked a co-worker why the jockeys were wearing such baggy silks.

“He almost didn’t understand the question,” Darby remembers. “That gives you a good idea of the mentality we’ve had to overcome with this product. People in this business haven’t traditionally thought about wind resistance. They always think about weight, but it turns out that’s much less important than aerodynamic drag. I studied the subject a lot when I was knocking around the idea of better silks.”

“Anyway, I kept asking around, and I always got the same answer: ‘I don’t know, they’ve always been like that.’ I discovered that “aero” silks showed up in the early 90’s, but they were never terribly popular with jockeys because those Spandex silks are heavy and they don’t breathe. That’s another reason we went with Aero Dimplex fabric: it’s very comfortable for the jockey.”

“So, once I was convinced the concept was valid, I got to work designing the first round of prototypes. I had the help of a Quarter Horse jockey, G.R. Carter, Jr. He was the biggest name in the business at the time, but that’s not why I picked him; he was the only jockey I knew personally. He was incredibly helpful and made the perfect “model” jockey. Plus, he’s a bit larger than your average Thoroughbred jockey, and I’d rather the silks be a little too large than a little too small. They need to be form-fitting without restricting movement,” Darby says. Speed Silks are available in two sizes: Regular and Large. Regular is the default size for North American jockeys.

The first set of Speed Silks was sold in August of 2013 (to Wes Melcher’s Double Infinity Ranch). Two important things happened quickly: Bob Baffert’s office called to order Speed Silks for a couple of their owner-clients, and the Australian horse racing retailer horsefabulous inquired about representing Speed Silks in the Asia-Pacific region.

“So right away, we had one of the biggest names in the business buying our stuff, and we get a foot into the Asia-Pacific market,” Darby says. Both of those relationships are going strong today.

Speed Silks are patent-pending. The product lineup includes silks jackets, racing helmet covers, jockey pants and boot sleeves – a product unique to Speed Silks. Examples of the product can be seen at SpeedSilks.com/Gallery. Matt Darby is available for comment at (806) 570-6920 or MJDarby@me.com. Customers wishing to inquire about Speed Silks can e-mail info@SpeedSilks.com or call (806) 333-8589.  Asia-Pacific customers e-mail info@horsefabulous.com.au.

JOCKEY SILKS NEWCOMER HAS SIGNIFICANT PRESENCE ON TRACK DURING 142nd KENTUCKY DERBY

PRESS RELEASE

Amarillo, Texas – May 5, 2016  —  Anywhere from four to six jockeys are expected to wear aerodynamically-engineered Speed Silks® brand jockey silks in this year’s 142nd Kentucky Derby (G-I).

Speed Silks are a form-fitting, head-to-toe equine jockey uniform made entirely out of Aero Dimplex®, an aerodynamically-engineered fabric that’s textured to actively reduce aerodynamic drag. Speed Silks are the only jockey silks worldwide that use this technology.

Matt Darby, founder of Darby Racing Technology, LLC and inventor of Speed Silks, says four Derby horses will likely be ridden by jockeys wearing Speed Silks, with a possible fifth and sixth, depending on circumstances.

“We’re especially happy that one of our clients happens to have the betting favorite this year,” Darby says, referring to Reddam Racing LLC’s Nyquist. “We’ve been watching his career closely since he was a hot 2-year-old. I have photos of each of his graded stakes wins on my office wall.”

BenoitPhoto_AP

BenoitPhoto_AP

“We also make Speed Silks for Big Chief Racing, who’s fielding Exaggerator, Michael Lund Petersen’s Mor Spirit, and Twin Creeks Racing’s Destin. The first three have actually been Speed Silks customers for quite some time, but Twin Creeks called us right after Destin won the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay. They wanted brand-new silks in case they were able to run in the Derby; they had seen our product on other jockeys, loved them, and called us first.”

Twenty horses are expected to run in the $2-million race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Darby says fans may also see Speed Silks on WinStar Farms’ Creator, but that he won’t know until race day. WinStar has a big barn, he says, but only a couple of pair of Speed Silks.

Finally, Steve Landers’ Dazzling Gem is an also-eligible, but if he sees the track on race day, his jockey will definitely be in Speed Silks, Darby says.

This year’s Kentucky Derby is just the third since Speed Silks first went on sale, and they have been worn in all three. The product has been on the backs of five Grade-I Breeders’ Cup winners in the past two years, including Bayern, winner of the $5-million Classic in 2014. Including this year’s Kentucky Derby, Speed Silks will have been worn in six of the last seven Triple Crown races.

Darby adds, “We’ll see Speed Silks in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, and we’ll have jockeys wearing our stuff all up and down the undercard races on both Oaks day and Derby day. We hope to have a lot to crow about by Saturday evening. We’re still a very small company with a very new, bleeding-edge product, so an opportunity like this is extremely exciting.”

Speed Silks are sold across North America, and in 2015 became approved for use in Australia and the entire Asia-Pacific region, where Darby says business is quickly taking off. Speed Silks have also been sold for use in Great Britain and France.

The Speed Silks product lineup incudes jackets, helmet covers, jockey pants and boot sleeves – a product unique to Speed Silks. Examples of the product can be seen at SpeedSilks.com/Gallery. Matt Darby is available for comment at (806) 570-6920.

PAIR OF 2014 BREEDERS’ CUP WINNERS WEARING SPEED SILKS®

Speed Silks full bodyJockeys aboard Bayern and Goldencents sporting racing’s latest innovation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 – Twenty jockeys competing in this year’s Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita —including winners Bayern and Goldencents­— were wearing Speed Silks®, a new patent-pending aerodynamically-engineered equine jockey uniform.

Speed Silks is the brand name of a product line consisting of silks, helmet covers, jockey pants and boot sleeves. All Speed Silks gear is form-fitting and made entirely of Aero Dimplex®, a patented technical fabric that’s uniquely textured to reduce drag. Aero Dimplex is the world’s most aerodynamically-efficient fabric between 14 and 47 miles per hour.

Darby Racing Technology, LLC sold the first set of Speed Silks in August of 2013; they have since been worn in multiple graded stakes victories and Triple Crown races. Darby Racing Technology has acquired the likes of Baffert Racing, Conquest Stables LLC, Reddam Racing LLC, Team Valor and many other notable stables and owners as clients.

On Friday, W.C. Racing’s Goldencents won his second consecutive $1-million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) with jockey Rafael Bejarano in Speed Silks. The next day, Kaleem Shah, Inc.’s Bayern earned a victory in the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with jockey Martin Garcia wearing Speed Silks gear.

Speed Silks creator Matt Darby says he was thrilled to hear from representatives from both barns, especially since they contacted his company so soon after he opened his doors.

“Glenn Sorgenstein of W.C. Racing called me back in February for a couple of sets. He told me he like the idea behind the technology… and that he thought they looked great, which is a nice bonus.

“Jill Baffert was the person who contacted me from Baffert’s organization, and that was back in November of last year. She had seen one of our ads in Trainer, and likewise appreciated the idea of silks engineered for performance. She ended up ordering sets for a number of Baffert clients in the weeks leading up to the 2014 Kentucky Derby, including Kaleem Shah. Those are the same Speed Silks that Bejarano wore last weekend in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He’s won a lot of races in those silks, actually.

“On Friday and Saturday [October 31 and November 1], we had 20 jockeys in Speed Silks across 13 races at Santa Anita, and in just the Breeders’ Cup races, we had five on Friday and four on Saturday. That would have been enough to keep me happy, but getting a pair of Grade-1 wins is just incredible.”

Matt Darby and his wife Darci designed Speed Silks over two years, and built the product from the ground up exclusively for use by jockeys. Both their blueprint and manufacturing process allow for seamless designs; no matter how complex the silks pattern, no seams are added to the garment, as the colors are dyed directly onto the Aero Dimplex fabric. The state-of-the-art dye sublimation process allows for very bright, saturated colors and razor sharp detail.

Speed Silks are available with an optional thumb-sleeve cuff, modeled after the jerseys worn by competitive cyclists. Darby says it’s testament to the “form-follows-function” philosophy he stuck to during the design process.

“We even manufacture and sell Speed Silks boot sleeves, which are essentially tubes of black Aero Dimplex fabric that are designed to slide down over the jockey’s boots. The texture of our Aero Dimplex fabric is more aerodynamically efficient than even a perfectly smooth surface…our boot sleeves highlight the fact that you want to get every available square inch of your jockey covered in this stuff.

“Aerodynamic drag has a much, much greater effect on the speed of the horse than a lot of people realize,” Darby says. “The horse has to work much harder to overcome wind resistance than he does to overcome the inertia of his own mass.”

Darby Racing Technology is working with Australian equine equipment and apparel retailer Horsefabulous to bring Speed Silks products to the Asia/Pacific market. The two companies are currently working to have Speed Silks officially approved by Australian horse racing authorities, and have already begun selling Speed Silks gear in New Zealand, with expansion planned soon into Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and of course, Australia.

Matt Darby is available for comment or to answer any questions about Speed Silks, and can be reached at Matt@SpeedSilks.com or (806) 570-6920. Visit Speed Silks online at www.SpeedSilks.com or on Facebook (Speed-Silks) and Twitter (@SpeedSilks).

Kerry and Catherine Jordan of Horsefabulous can be reached at info@horsefabulous.com.au or by phone at +61 2 9613 3265 (Australia). Visit Horsefabulous online at www.horsefabulous.com.au.

Speed Silks® is a trademark of Darby Racing Technology, LLC in the U.S. and other countries.

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