“Down the stretch they come!” is one of the most famous catchphrases in all of sports broadcasting and the guy behind it is suing The Weinstein Co. over the use of the phrase in a 2014 movie starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, David Johnson — the iconic voice of The Kentucky Derby — claims he has been using the phrase since the 1960s and trademarked it in 2012.
He claims Murray’s character in the film uses the phrase during a scene at a racetrack. Johnson said he never gave the film permission to use the phrase and finds its use by Murray’s character, in particular, to be troubling.
The lawsuit refers to Murray’s character as an “unsavory” and “grumpy alcoholic who gambles regularly on horse racing.”
In contrast, he claims the use of the phrase “infringes, damages, blurs, tarnishes, and dilutes the mark and the rights and reputation of the mark’s creator and owner, Dave Johnson—an esteemed and accomplished gentleman who is a universally respected legend in sports broadcasting and entertainment.”
Johnson claims Weinstein — and the film’s other producers, including Chernin Entertainment, Goldenlight Films, and others — “capitalized on Dave Johnson’s celebrity persona, likeness, identity, and voice and his trademarked signature phrase’s celebrity and popularity.”
He is suing for trademark infringement and seeking millions in damages.