ESPN's coverage of the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup drew roughly the same number of viewers as last year, and that is not very good news.
The ESPN family of networks will set a record for length of Breeders' Cup coverage, with 9 1/2 hours devoted to the two-day Breeders' Cup event and a preview show Wednesday.
Coverage of the Darley Test Stakes (gr. I) and West Virginia Derby (gr. III) Aug. 4 has moved from ESPN to ESPN Classic.
Breeders' Cup president and chief executive officer Greg Avioli said the organization hopes to achieve a number of goals with the newly created Breeders' Cup Challenge.
Officials of Breeders' Cup Limited and six of the nation's premier racetracks launched the Breeders' Cup Challenge, a series of 24 officially sanctioned qualifying stakes races for the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
With Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches expected to make her next start in the July 21 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont Park, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced July 13 that live coverage of the race has been added to the TV series "NTRA Summer Racing - Powered by Dodge."
An agreement has been reached between Frank Whiteley and Jacinto Vasquez, the respective trainer and jockey of the top racemare Ruffian; the Walt Disney Company ABC; ESPN; and a movie production company over a movie about the filly.
Ruffian's trainer, Frank Whiteley Jr., and her regular rider, Jacinto Vasquez, along with Thoroughbred Legends LLC, have filed a civil suit against The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries, ABC and ESPN, charging trademark infringement in the TV movie "Ruffian," which is slated to air June 9 on ABC.
TVG will provide live, on-site coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) post-position draw from Keeneland April 11.
"Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby" will once again air on ABC and the ESPN networks beginning Saturday, March 17, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Feb. 15. The series will conclude with a Triple Crown special airing from Louisville's Churchill Downs two days prior to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The Breeders' Cup World Championships will have a new look at first-time host Monmouth Park this year--an expanded two-day event that will inaugurate three $1-million stakes designed to accommodate owners and breeders.
ESPN's "Wire To Wire" digest show will be eliminated in 2007, but the amount of live coverage hours of horse racing on the network will increase slightly, part of a retooling of the lineups for the sports cable company and affiliated broadcast network ABC.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - After a rocky year of changes that touched both the board of directors and the organization's top executives, stakeholders in the Breeders' Cup should feel good about its new direction.
Final U.S. national household television ratings confirmed a severe dip in the number of Americans tuned to the Breeders' Cup World Championships this year.
Television ratings were down but Web traffic was up for ESPN's maiden voyage covering the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
In the words of ESPN senior vice president Len DeLuca, the network is "bullish" on its opportunity to broadcast the Breeders' Cup World Championships for the first time Nov. 4.
As soon as ESPN and the NTRA announced that Trevor Denman would replace Tom Durkin as the racecaller for the 23rd Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Denman's phone started to ring.
In its first year of televising the Breeders' Cup World Championships, ESPN will air seven hours of coverage from Churchill Downs in Louisville. The Breeders' Cup coverage begins Nov. 4 at noon and continues to 7 p.m., and will be telecast in high definition.
The NTRA National Pick 4 wager, offered in conjunction with "Emirates Airline Countdown to the Breeders' Cup" series installments airing on ESPN and ESPN2 through Oct. 14 will be available Oct. 7.
Trevor Denman has joined the ESPN announcer team for coverage of the 2006 Breeders' Cup World Championships, ESPN said Sept. 6.
Besides being seen on a new network this year, the Breeders' Cup World Championships will have a different sound as well. For the first time since the event's inception in 1984, Tom Durkin will not be calling the Breeders' Cup races for television viewers.
A double dose of "Road to the Breeders' Cup World Championships – Powered by Dodge" is on tap this weekend with live racing Saturday and Sunday on ESPN from 5-6 p.m. (EST).
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Wednesday that television viewership for the first four shows of its "Road to the Breeders' Cup World Championships -- Powered by Dodge" was up 45% over last year's numbers.
ABC Sports picked a tough time to get back into the Triple Crown business. Without Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and Preakness victor Bernardini, the Belmont Stakes was left without a star attraction, and that was reflected in national television ratings for the June 10 running from New York.
Coverage of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on ESPN networks and ABC Sports June 8-10 will include more footage than ever before of the details surrounding a horse that will not be present for the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Comprehensive coverage of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on ESPN and ABC Sports begins June 8 and concludes June 10, when the third jewel of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown will be held at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
It's 12:25 p.m. A pair of Derby contenders enter the paddock for some schooling.
ABC Sports, which will be televising the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) from Belmont Park in New York June 10, has announced it will be expanding the telecast to two hours. The program will air from 5 p.m.-7p.m. ET.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced the 2006 schedule of National Pick 4 wagers available at wagering outlets nationwide March 31. All six wagers are tied to ABC/ESPN racing telecasts.
"Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby," an eight-show series on ABC and ESPN providing comprehensive coverage of key Triple Crown prep races, kicks off Saturday on ESPN with coverage of four races coast-to-coast.
Racing fans and Derby Week visitors will get a close-up look at the nationally televised post position selection for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands(gr. I) as the "post draw" will be held this year in downtown Louisville's Fourth Street Live!
"Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby," an eight-show series on ABC and the ESPN networks that provides comprehensive coverage of the key Triple Crown prep races, returns on March 18, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Feb. 8.
Jerry Bailey, 48, North America's dominant jockey for more than a decade beginning in the early 1990s, announced his retirement from riding, effective Jan 28 after the Sunshine Millions card at Gulfstream Park.
ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) announced it will produce an original film, "Ruffian," based on the story of the great filly who was undefeated until suffering a fatal breakdown in a match race against Foolish Pleasure at Belmont Park in 1975.
National television ratings for NBC's telecast of the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships from Belmont Park in New York increased slightly from last year's numbers.
The 2005 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase (NSA-I), held Oct. 22 at the Far Hills in New Jersey, will be the subject of expanded television coverage in the United States and Great Britain this week.
Veteran television executive Basil DeVito Jr., who served as senior vice president for television and sponsorship for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association from 1998-99, has rejoined the organization as president of NTRA Productions.
Mark Shapiro, the ESPN executive who was instrumental in moving the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships to his network in 2006, is leaving ESPN effective Oct. 1 to become chief executive officer of Red Zone, a private entertainment investment company founded by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
Mark Shapiro, executive vice president who oversees programming and production for ESPN networks and ABC Sports, will deliver the keynote address at The Jockey Club's 53rd annual Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs Aug. 21.
The Suburban Handicap (gr. I), the traditional holiday weekend feature at Belmont Park, may have lost one of it's big guns earlier in the week, but drew a strong field of eight headed by Pollard's Vision and fan favorite Funny Cide.
"Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships Powered by Dodge," a four-month, 15-program series, will return on ESPN networks this weekend. Featuring 33 races in seven of the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships divisions, the series concludes with a World Thoroughbred Championships special Oct. 28, the day before this year's Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's strategic plan for the next five years clearly reflects a shift in priorities for the organization, though many of the core focus areas remain intact from its first business plan issued in 1997.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - A lot of grayhairs frowned initially when the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup signed an eight-year deal with ESPN, moving racing's championship day to a cable network beginning in 2006. NBC Sports has broadcast the event every year since its inception in 1984.
The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be televised on ESPN beginning in 2006 under an eight-year contract between the two parties, officials announced April 29. Financial details weren't released, but officials called it a "revenue-sharing" package designed to help racing capitalize on multimedia and technology.
Trying to piggyback on the phenomenal success of televised poker, the racing industry has high hopes for ESPN's one-hour program covering the National Handicapping Championship, which will air Sunday, Feb. 20, at 5 p.m. ET.
ESPN has won the Eclipse Award for National Television – Features for its documentary "Smarty Jones: America's Horse," which aired on Oct. 31, 2004, on ESPN and ESPN HD, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 4.
Frank Deford, one of the most honored sportswriters in the country, was at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday, shooting part of an ESPN documentary about the Baltimore native's life and work.
A busy slate of stakes contests coast-to-coast means plenty of television action for racing fans who seek couch potato status this weekend.
Longtime broadcaster Brent Musburger, better known nationally known for his football and basketball reporting, will host Saturday's Arlington Million (gr. I) telecast on ABC Sports.
The Breeders' Cup Classic Division Powered by Dodge takes center stage this weekend as 3 year olds and up start serious preparation for the headline event at Lone Star Oct. 30. The action will be televised by the ESPN family of networks.
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