ABC Sports, which will be televising the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) from Belmont Park in New York June 10, has announced it will be expanding the telecast to two hours. The program will air from 5 p.m.-7p.m. ET.
The Belmont marks the first foray for ABC back into the Triple Crown picture since 1999, when it showed the Belmont. NBC has had the rights to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Preakness (gr. I), and Belmont Stakes from 2000 to 2005. While NBC still handles the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the New York Racing Association signed a five year deal with ABC/ESPN to handle the Belmont Stakes beginning this year.
The standard format for Triple Crown races has been a 90-minute telecast. The Belmont will mark the first two-hour production of any Triple Crown contest. In addition, the ESPN family of networks will provide five hours of on-site coverage from Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes day, including the undercard of races.
"Whether we have a Triple Crown on the line or not, we're going to build to the Belmont Stakes," said Len DeLuca, senior vice president of programming and acquisitions for ABC Sports and ESPN. "We're going to expand our coverage, recognizing the depth we can go into our stories. We have a huge schedule Belmont day, with ESPN starting at noon, plus we'll be there all week leading up to it."
The ESPN networks will also be onsite at Churchill Downs and Pimlico for undercard coverage on Kentucky Derby and Preakness days.