A special two-hour "SportsCenter at Saratoga," featuring live coverage of the grade I, $1 million Travers Stakes from Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will air from 5-7 p.m. (ET) on August 23 on ESPN, the network, the New York Racing Association and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday. Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide and Belmont Stakes champion Empire Maker are expected to renew their rivalry in the Travers and, as a result, the "Mid-Summer Derby" has become the most anticipated race of the summer. The race is also expected to attract such talented three-year-olds as Belmont Stakes runner-up Ten Most Wanted, Jim Dandy Stakes winner Strong Hope and Haskell Invitational runner-up Sky Mesa. To accommodate the telecast, the post time for the Travers, previously scheduled for 5:55 p.m. (ET), has been moved by NYRA to 6:25 p.m. (ET) In addition to the Travers, the program will include live coverage of two other major races from Saratoga, the grade I, $200,000 King's Bishop Stakes and the grade II, $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap. All three races are important stepping-stones on the Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships. Scheduled post time for the Fourstardave is 5:09 p.m. (ET), while the King's Bishop is set for a 5:45 p.m. (ET) start. NYRA will conduct a 12-race program on Travers Day, with the first race scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Hosting the action from Saratoga will be Kenny Mayne, joined by analyst Randy Moss and reporters Kenny Rice and Jeannine Edwards. Hank Goldberg will offer live reports from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, site of the following day's $1 million Pacific Classic (Sunday, ESPN, 5:00-6:00 p.m. ET), and other news from the world of sports will be featured via live cut-ins from ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn. "We welcome the opportunity to host this special broadcast of SportsCenter," said Bill Nader, NYRA senior vice president. "This highlights how important an event the Travers has become."