Santa Anita Park was declared the winner of this year's Simulcast Award at the 24th annual International Simulcast Conference Sept. 27 in New Orleans. The venerable Southern California track previously won the award in 2000, 2001, and 2015.
The Simulcast Award, sponsored by American Teletimer Corp. and ONTrack Media and Entertainment, honors excellence in the presentation of a racetrack's live race product to its simulcast outlets. A panel of five judges selected the winner as best among the 10 North American and international racetracks entered for consideration.
The judges cited Santa Anita's readable display which makes the most of available screen space without resorting to flashy or jittery moving elements, along with a smooth, unobtrusive scrolling tempo. One judge said: "Their graphics package is clear, bright and easy to read ... the best graphics package in North America in my view," while another noted that the post-race screen is great for including order of finish, fractions, and payouts.
Santa Anita chairman Keith Brackpool said, "We are honored to receive this prestigious award for the fourth time. The landscape of producing a simulcast signal is an ever-evolving one and we strive to be on the leading edge," Brackpool said. "We are very proud to win in consecutive years as we are constantly seeking to improve our signal for our customers by adding camera angles and fine-tuning the graphic look. We also thank our production company, Pegasus Communications, for its partnership in producing Santa Anita's simulcast signal."
In a separate award, The New York Racing Association was recognized for extraordinary achievement in daily racing presentation for its ground-breaking production of "Saratoga Live."
"Saratoga Live," a 2 1/2-hour program airing on race days during the Saratoga Race Course meet on Fox Sports 2, as well as regional networks Altitude and MSG+, launched July 22 and was broadcast to a regional and national audience of 65 million homes.
TRA executive vice president Chris Scherf noted, "NYRA's investment and commitment to produce a network quality sports presentation was an exceptional undertaking in the racing industry."
The show centered on the Pick 4, which consisted of the last four races each day, including the feature, with live racing commentary from a talented team of handicappers and racing experts. With in-depth handicapping analysis, profiles on individual horses, and interviews with trainers and owners the program gave viewers a sense of the Saratoga experience.
David Nathanson, the head of Business Operations for Fox Sports Media Group, told racing writer Bob Ehalt in July: "NYRA is making a huge investment in this show and we're happy to be part of it. We believe in Thoroughbred racing and believe there can be a growth of the audience for the show."
The simulcast award competition saw 10 track entries that included the simulcast audio and video transmission of a single race sent to wagering outlets. Each entry included the pre-race features, odds, will-pays, commentaries, the actual running of the race, the results, and post-race features.
The winner had noteworthy competition in this very close race from Keeneland and Addington Raceway in New Zealand, with Del Mar, Saratoga, and Woodbine also receiving votes. Each received first, second, or third-place votes on several ballots.
Previous winners of the award are Churchill Downs (1997), Turfway Park (1998), Penn National Race Course (1999), Santa Anita (2000-01, 2015), Hollywood Park (2002), Keeneland (2003, 2008-9, 2011-4), Los Alamitos (2007), Del Mar (2005), and Woodbine (2004, 2006-7, 2010, 2012).