"NTRA Super Saturday" Makes TV Debut


"NTRA Super Saturday," five shows of horse racing coverage airing on ABC and ESPN, will make its debut Saturday on ESPN with a two-hour telecast (4:00-6:00 p.m. ET) featuring five graded stakes from four different race tracks with reporters stationed at each venue. "NTRA Super Saturday" will air one Saturday a month, except for a special Sunday edition, through October.

With the 2004 Visa Triple Crown Challenge now in the history books, this week's "NTRA Super Saturday" show ushers in the second half of the horse racing season - the run up to the October 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, to be held at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie outside Dallas. Featured on "NTRA Super Saturday" will be live races from each of the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships divisions. These races are critical in determining which horses make it to Lone Star Park at the end of October.

In addition to presenting the races, which will carry total purses worth more than $2 million each week, each show will also feature a $400,000 guaranteed National Pick 4 wager, a bet that allows fans to pick the winners of four of the televised races.

Headlining Saturday's program are a pair of Grade I events - the Stephen Foster Handicap from Churchill Downs in Louisville, and the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap from Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. Also scheduled are three Grade II contests - the Brooklyn Handicap from New York's Belmont Park, the Fleur De Lis Handicap from Churchill Downs and the Ohio Derby from Thistledown in Cleveland.

STEPHEN FOSTER: Among the leading handicap division horses who will contest the $750,000, 1 1/8-mile race is last year's winner, Perfect Drift. Set to challenge him is Southern Image, a three-time Grade I winner coming off a triumph in last month's Grade I Pimlico Special, the Bobby Frankel-trained Peace Rules, who captured the Oaklawn and New Orleans Handicaps earlier this year, and Midway Road, who was second in the Pimlico Special after winning the Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland. This race is part of the Breeders' Cup Classic Division - Powered by Dodge.

WHITTINGHAM MEMORIAL: A $350,000, 1 1/4-mile turf race named for the legendary trainer who won the race five times before it bore his name, this event is part of the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf Division. A field of eight is expected, with trainer Neil Drysdale entering the talented filly Musical Chimes, out to become the third member of her sex to capture the race. Also slated to start are Bayamo (IRE), Continuously, Even The Score, Irish Warrior, Just Wonder (GB), Seinne (CHI) and Vangelis.

FLEUR DE LIS: A $400,000, 1 1/8-miles race that is part of the Nextel Breeders' Cup Distaff Division, Saturday's renewal will feature Adoration, who won the 2003 Nextel Breeders' Cup Distaff. Lining up against her should be Bare Necessities, Cat Fighter, Angela's Love, Indy Groove and La Reason.

BROOKLYN: To be run for the 116th time, the Brooklyn carries a purse of $250,000 and is run at a distance of 1 1/8 miles. Dynever, Seattle Fitz, Congrats and Newfoundland should start. The Brooklyn is part of the Breeders' Cup Classic Division - Powered by Dodge.

OHIO DERBY: The $350,000, 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, is the biggest racing event held annually in the Buckeye state. A field of up to nine is expected led by two horses trained by Todd Pletcher: Limehouse, who was fourth in last month's Kentucky Derby, and Pollard's Vision, who won the Illinois Derby. Also considered definite for the race are Trieste's Humor, who won the California Derby; Brass Hat, winner of the Rushaway Stakes; Mambo Train, Dashboard Drummer and local contender Jandemar. Sinister G, who won the Lane's End Stakes, is possible. This race is also part of the Breeders' Cup Classic Division - Powered by Dodge.

For Saturday's show, ESPN will unveil a pair of new horseracing co-hosts, Jay Crawford and Catherine Crier. Positioned at Churchill Downs, they will be joined there by analyst Randy Moss. Jeannine Edwards will be on the scene at Belmont, Kurt Hoover will report live from Hollywood Park and Jay Privman will be at Thistledown.

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