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'Good, Bad, and Ugly' Of Maryland Horse Farm Shown in TV Series

The show opens with a drumbeat, a horse running, and the words: "In the world of the thoroughbred, one thing you can count on is the unexpected." The show is "Thoroughbred," a 13-part series about life at Bonita Farm, the Boniface family's pride and joy in Maryland -- home to Deputed Testamony, winner of the 1983 Preakness. The first 30-minute episode begins at 8 p.m. (ET) Tuesday (April 3) on the cable channel Animal Planet. Subsequent episodes will be televised Tuesdays at that hour through June 19 (and also at 7 p.m. Saturdays).

Sink or Swim

By Ray Paulick -- In its first three years, the NTRA has proven it can put out fires -- and there have been many. It's what happens next that is really important, because putting out fires was not what the NTRA's commissioner, Tim Smith, was hired to do. If Smith and his top aides no longer are required to spend most of their time and energy keeping the organization intact, we finally will be able to gauge how effective this national office for racing can be.

TVG to Air "Viewer Choice Awards" Based on Fan Poll

Presentations of Horse of the Year, Trainer of the Year and Race of the Year highlight the inaugural TVG "Viewer Choice Awards" to be aired live on the TVG Network on Monday, January 29 from 9-10 PM EST (6-7 PM PST). Hosted by TVG anchors Caton Bredar and Greg Wolf, the ceremony will honor 14 categories of achievement in Thoroughbred, harness and quarter horse racing. The winners were selected through on on-line poll of TVG viewers, with over one million votes cast over a two-week period.

Tuning In: NTRA Trying to Adjust TV Racing Schedule

The re-entry of Magna Entertainment's seven racetracks into the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is expected to have an immediate impact on the NTRA's winter television schedule on ESPN and ESPN2, beginning with its first telecast on Feb. 3. That telecast will feature the Donn Handicap (gr. I) from Gulfstream Park and the Strub Stakes (gr. II) and San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) from Santa Anita. Both tracks are owned by Magna, whose chairman, Frank Stronach, announced on Jan. 17 in a joint statement with the NTRA that he has made a two-year commitment to rejoin the organization.

Tuning Out

By Ray Paulick -- One of the most obvious shortcomings of the 2001 racing season promises to be the loss from the television broadcast schedule of a number of important Triple Crown prep races.

Survivor

By Ray Paulick -- In the Thoroughbred world's version of the hit television show "Survivor," my money would not have been on Jim Wilburn, the impresario for racing on ESPN and ESPN2, to make it past the first couple of meetings of the tribal council. But popularity and performance are two distinct variables.

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