'Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships' Schedule Released

NTRA, Breeders' Cup press release
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup Limited announced the schedule of races for the newly titled "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" on the ESPN networks and outlined a supporting promotional campaign featuring ESPN's Kenny Mayne. In other news, Jim Kelly, the voice of the America's Cup and ESPN golf, was named anchor and spokesman for the "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" series.

In addition, the NTRA announced that for the first time U.S. audiences will be able to follow the top international Breeders' Cup contenders through expanded ESPN and ESPN News coverage of Emirates World Series races.

The new advertising campaign, first discussed at the NTRA Marketing Summit in March, is entitled "Kenny Mayne, the Singing Jockey." It features the ESPN personality in jockey silks, playing guitar on horseback and singing parodies of classic Western songs to encourage viewers to tune in to horseracing on ESPN.

Mayne is joined by Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Jorge Chavez, jockeys Aaron Gryder and Joe Bravo and retired, Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr., in a series of four spots that will debut the last week of July and run through October. The campaign was created and produced by BaylessCronin of Atlanta. The 11-week flight will air on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic.

"This campaign is designed specifically to increase interest and awareness of horseracing among ESPN viewers and to remind those viewers to tune into ESPN's tremendous lineup of races on the 'Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships,'" said Keith Chamblin, NTRA Vice President -- Marketing and Industry Relations. "Consumer research has told us that horseracing's casual fans, a younger male demographic, live on the ESPN family of networks."

Broadcasts of the Arlington Million, the Pacific Classic and the Travers Stakes highlight the ESPN summer schedule.

"With our new coverage of the best in international racing by way of the Emirates series and top races like the Arlington Million, the Travers and the Pacific Classic, this is truly the 'Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships,'" said Kelly. "I'm looking forward to being a part of this as the host of the series on ESPN."