Weekend TV Schedule Adjusted in Light of Crisis

The show will go on -- in part at least.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Thursday afternoon that racing broadcasts on NBC and CNBC have been canceled this weekend, but a program scheduled for ESPN will go on, with some adjustments.

This weekend, Belmont Park has scheduled five stakes that serve as preps for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, to be held Oct. 27 at Belmont. Scheduled for Saturday are the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap, the $200,000 Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap, and the $150,000 Jerome Handicap. On Sunday, the $200,000 Futurity Stakes and $200,000 Matron Stakes are slated.

The draw for Saturday's 11-race program took place Thursday.

NBC was to have aired a two-hour telecast from NYRA's Belmont Park featuring the Jerome, Belmont Breeders' Cup, and Ruffian from 4-6 p.m. EDT Saturday, and CNBC was to have broadcast the Futurity Sunday from 4-5 p.m.

"Given the fluidity of national TV programming right now, with virtually round-the-clock coverage of the post-attack rescue efforts, and the logistical difficulties of producing on-site programming because of nationwide travel disruptions, the prudent course was to cancel both shows," NTRA commissioner Tim Smith said.

"We fully support the NTRA's decision to cancel the NBC network shows," New York Racing Association president Terry Meyocks said. "While NYRA is reopening this weekend to regain some normalcy in its racing programs, the media situation in New York understandably remains in a state of flux."

The one-hour program featuring the Matron will be broadcast as planned from 3-4 p.m. Sunday on ESPN, but the show will be produced from the NTRA Productions studio in Tulsa, Okla. The NTRA is working with NYRA to schedule the Futurity so it can be shown live during the one-hour program Sunday afternoon. Saturday stakes will be shown on tape as well during the program.

"It became a logistical issue," said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of television and marketing for the NTRA. "The decision (to cancel programming) was made after consultation with the networks, which literally are planning their programming on an hour-to-hour basis."