NBC broadcaster Tom Hammond, who has worked on all 18 Breeders' Cup programs to date, will likely miss the Oct. 26 telecast while recovering from heart surgery.
"I'm feeling pretty well, everything considered," Hammond, 57, said Thursday from St. Joseph's Hospital in Lexington, Ky. His voice sounded strong, and he was in good spirits. "I'm hoping to go home today or tomorrow, but I probably won't do the Breeders' Cup telecast. The guys at NBC keep telling me not to try and be a hero because there are plenty of other programs coming up that they need me for. That was nice of them to say.
"I wanted to do something to be part of the show since I've done 18 straight. I guess I can stay home and wager, but that might be very costly."
Hammond was undergoing a routine stress test earlier this week when doctors noticed a small spike and sent him to a cardiologist. The cardiologist was inserting a stent into an artery to relieve a small blockage when the artery collapsed, sending Hammond into double-bypass surgery Tuesday.
Should Hammond not be able to host the 5 1/2-hour Breeders' Cup telecast, NBC is considering a variety of other options. "We are in the midst of talking about Plan B if Tom can't work it," said NBC spokesperson Cameron Blanchard.
Hammond normally co-hosts the event with Charlsie Cantey. NBC's roster of talent on Breeders' Cup telecasts also includes Trevor Denman, Kenny Rice, and Bob Neumeier.
NBC also announced that Bob Costas would return as its scene-setter at the top of the telecast.
Hammond is scheduled to work a few more Notre Dame football games for the network, as well as figure skating events. He noted he would not worry about rushing back. Hammond, who had stomach surgery last year, joked that he "was like a refurbished car--everything's fixed and I'm ready to go."