TVG will become the first American TV network to present live, on-site coverage of horseracing from Japan when it telecasts that country's two most important international racing events – the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) and the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) on Nov. 25 and 26, respectively. The telecast time both nights is 9:00-11:30 p.m. (Pacific Time), with the feature races scheduled for 10:20 p.m. PT. An hour of each show will air on Fox Sports Net 2, Fox Sports New York, Fox Sports Northwest and Sun Sports.
On-site commentary and analysis from Tokyo Racecourse will be provided by TVG's Simon Bray and Greg Wolf. The Cup Dirt is open to 3-year-olds and up and will be contested at 1 5/16 miles for a purse of $1.8 million. The Japan Cup, with a purse of $4.45 million, is the world's richest turf race and the second richest race (next to the Dubai World Cup) in horseracing. It is also open to 3-year-olds and up and is contested at 1 ½ miles.Coverage of these two races concludes an eight-show series of stakes racing from Japan that was the result of an agreement between TVG and the Japan Racing Association that granted TVG exclusive Japanese racing telecast and advanced deposit wagering rights in the U.S. As has been the case throughout the series, wagering through TVG will come via Emerald Downs, the Seattle track that is the U.S. wagering hub on JRA racing in this country.
"This is yet another example of TVG's presenting the best in international racing to our fans and customers," said Tony Allevato, TVG senior vice president and executive producer. "Horseracing in Japan is among the best in the world, with top horses representing some of our country's leading breeding line. Japanese trainers and jockeys are world class as well. It will be interesting to see how the home team does against the strong international contingent making the trip to Tokyo for these two races."
Three non-Japanese based horses are expected to contest the Japan Cup Dirt, led by the Doug O'Neill-trained Lava Man. O'Neill captured the 2003 running with Fleetstreetdancer. Also making the trip from the U.S. is the Mark Hennig-trained Tap Day and on hand from Great Britain will be Eccentric.The host nation of Japan will be well represented in the race by such horses as Personal Rush, Adjudi Mitsuo, and Time Paradox.
A stellar group of American and European-based horses will run in the Japan Cup, headed by 2004 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) champion Better Talk Now, coming from the U.S; 2004 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner Ouija Board, coming from the U.K.; and 2004 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) champion Bago, coming from France. The Graham Motion-trained Better Talk Now finished seventh in this year's Breeders' Cup Turf following a victory in the Man o'War Stakes, while Ouija Board was runner-up in last month's Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and Bago was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
Also expected from the U.S. is the Bobby Frankel-trained King's Drama, the French-trainee Alkaased, and Warrsan, who is traveling from the UK.
Japanese trainee Zenno Rob Roy, who won the race last year, will be back to defend his title.