He dominated the Kentucky Derby, powered over the competition at the Preakness, and if he wins the Belmont Stakes this weekend, California Chrome’s brand will forge into gold.
When racehorses become household names, the sport’s biggest names turn to Harrisburg. Strawberry Square has become synonymous with a Bluegrass industry because of Mike Doctrow, an attorney with McNees Wallace & Nurick, LLC.
"I do trademark, copyright, advertising law," Doctrow said, "but all my friends know me as the horse attorney as well."
Doctrow’s horse racing ties go back a decade when Chester County's Smarty Jones was a heavy favorite to win the Triple Crown in 2004. The owners reached out to Doctrow to handle the legal side of Smarty Jones's popularity.
Ever since he rocked a mustache and dark hair, Doctrow has represented the sport’s biggest names; like Barbaro, a horse he became very fond of.
The racehorses have a myriad of merchandise that include hats, shirts, figurines, bobble heads, art, jewelry and one popular product even the high-brow love.
"Everyone loves a shot glass,” Doctrow said. “There are hundreds and hundreds of shot glasses that are sold."
Then again, bourbon is Kentucky’s pride.
Doctrow has a few personal mementos signed by the clients he represents. One of his favorite is a signed photograph of Smarty Jones winning a race in 2004.
"They're absolutely beautiful animals," he said. "They're just wonderful to look at."
All of that stuff is set to make millions if California Chrome can do what 22 other horses with two-leg wins have failed to accomplish. According to Doctrow, the movie and book deals aren’t as lucrative as people think.
"It really does pale in comparison to the price of the horse and stud fees and things that, which is the real business side," he said.
ESPN reports California Chrome could make more than $100 million in stud fees, which Doctrow also handles.
Doctrow expects to make the drive to Elmont, New York this weekend to watch the 146th Belmont Stakes. Although the 1.5 mile track takes just a couple minutes to finish, the anticipation can be overwhelming. When there are mega bucks on the line, don’t blame Doctrow if he can’t, well, hold his horses.
"I will be a nervous wreck. There's no question about it," he said.