Belmont Park has agreed to move the Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) back one day to Sept. 29 this year so that the event can be shown as part of a huge Preview Day of live racing on NBC. The telecast, coming one month before the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, will feature four live races as well two on tape and the stretch run of a seventh event.
Because golf's Ryder Cup competition between the United States and Europe, which takes place every other year, was cancelled in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it has been rescheduled for this year on Sept. 28 on NBC. The network would normally air its racing extravaganza that day, so it has decided to push its Thoroughbred slate back to Sunday, Sept. 29.
On that day, NBC's coverage will originate from Arlington Park, host of the 2002 Breeders' Cup. It will feature two Breeders' Cup prep races live from the Chicago-area oval. They are the $150,000 Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile over the turf for 3-year-olds and up; and the $400,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) at 1 3/16th miles, which will serve as a tune-up for the Breeders' Cup Classic for those connections wishing to get their horses acclimated to the Arlington surface.
In addition to those two races and the $750,000 Turf Classic, which will be shown live from Belmont, NBC will provide live coverage of the $1.5 million (Canadian funds) Canadian International (Can-IT), run at 12 furlongs over the Woodbine turf course for 3-year-olds and up.
Also on the broadcast will be taped coverage of the previous day's stakes from Belmont, the 10-furlong $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) for 3-year-olds and up, and the $750,000 Flower Bowl (gr. IT) for fillies and mares going 1 1/4 miles on the turf. Rounding out the action will be the taped stretch run of the Sept. 29 E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) from Woodbine for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 10 furlongs on the turf.
For 2003, Preview Day will revert back to a Saturday presentation, with the Turf Classic Invitational moving back to its normal slot.