Coverage of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on ESPN networks and ABC Sports June 8-10 will include more footage than ever before of the details surrounding a horse that will not be present for the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Barbaro, winner of the May 6 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), who was seriously injured during the running of the May 20 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), has been a top news subject ever since.
"Barbaro is still the biggest story right now--the public is hungry to hear about that," said Dave Miller, coordinating producer of ESPN/ABC during a Belmont related conference call June 7.
The Belmont returns to ABC for the first time since 2000, and its two-hour coverage is longer than any previous Triple Crown race featured on a major network.
Details of the Barbaro's surgery, recovery updates, and medical advancements from which he has benefited will be discussed during segments of ESPN's eight-hour coverage over the three-day period. ABC will focus on the colt at the beginning of its segment, which will air from 5 to 7 p.m. on Belmont Day June 10.
In addition, the networks will offer stories on John Velazquez's quick recovery and return to racing, as well as the Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Bluegrass Cat and Sunriver, currently the respective top two morning line favorites in the classic race.
"What we've seen over the last few weeks with the interest in Barbaro shows true commitment to the sport of horse racing," said retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who will serve as an analyst during the networks' coverage.
Bailey's commentary will include a step-by-step demonstration from the starting gate to engage fans in the inner-workings of how the race is set up and how the jockeys prepare.
"I prepare for a telecast very similarly to how I prepared for races," Bailey said. "I try and analyze from the standpoint of what a horse may do. The key is to educate the public to understand the sport more so they tune in to it more."