This year Fair Grounds will offer expanded television coverage, a new look for its web site, and eight graded stakes races.
Despite heavy competition from a high-scoring Notre Dame-Florida State college football game, the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships managed a 5% increase in its overnight television rating.
- By Tom LaMarra
Speakers at the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators convention outlined a few of horse racing's potential challenges, including pathological gambling and a need for more television time.
- By Tom LaMarra
The lure of the racetrack, and what can be done to make it a more attractive entertainment option, was part of the focus during the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's annual meeting.
- By Tom LaMarra
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association will seek three-year television rights agreements with member racetracks to assist in national coverage of horse racing, and also struck a deal with Guinness beer.
The good name of British racing will again be challenged when BBC Television's high-profile Panorama program airs allegations of corruption involving owners, trainers, jockeys, bookmakers, and criminals.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has approved a contract extension with ESPN for television coverage, and also reported that 82% of the sellers and consignors at the Keeneland July yearling sale contributed financially to the organization to fund legislative endeavors.
The YES Network, which broadcasts New York Yankees games and is available in New York, Connecticut, and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, will broadcast its first Thoroughbred races Aug. 3 from Saratoga.
The Thoroughbred industry today is still paying for a bad decision made more than 40 years ago. Not only did its popularity plummet as a result of being off television during that medium's original boom time, but more recently the struggle to get possession of the sport's archives and control and coordinate its television presence has cost the industry millions of dollars.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Personal experience confirms that people would rather bet on races they can watch on television.
With an expanded schedule, fans can watch 15 stakes races from Saratoga this summer. The races will be on either ESPN, ESPN2, CNBC, and the YES network.
Listings of racing on television and upcoming stakes
A licensing deal announced today by Youbet.com may put live odds and online audio and video streaming of selected races on ESPN.com as early as this weekend.
By Bud Lamoreaux -- It's time to start the drums rolling for the most memorable broadcaster ever to do a Triple Crown race, the late Heywood Hale Broun. Surely there is a place for a shrine to him, be it Churchill Downs, Keeneland, or Saratoga.
NBC Sports coverage of the 127th Preakness Stakes Saturday generated a 6.5 overnight rating and 15 share (5-6:45 p.m. ET), the highest overnight rating for the Preakness since 1990's 7.8/20 on ABC, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Magna Entertainment plans to a launch this summer a 24-hour horse racing network that promises to educate and entertain viewers. The Canadian racing conglomerate also is planning a national off-track betting network.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Triple Crown Productions, and ESPN have reached an agreement to renew multiple horseracing series and special-event programming through 2008.
NBC Sports announced that its coverage of the Triple Crown this year will be telecast in high definition television, or HDTV.
The new free British racing television channel, run by the "attheraces" consortium, will launch on time May 1 with 14 hours of broadcasting a day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In a deal that will give it exposure in a major market, TV Games Network has reached a two-year agreement to exclusively air live Southern California horseracing on FOX Sports Net West (FSN) and FOX Sports Net West 2 (FSN2).
As the road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) gets shorter, the telecasts of premier 3-year-old Thoroughbred racing heats up in prep races televised on "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby," the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)-produced series on the ESPN networks.
Beginning May 5, Thoroughbred racing fans in the Chicago area will be able to tune in to the same channel for nightly replays from local tracks.
Two television networks will provide 2 1/2 hours of coverage of major Triple Crown preps April 13.
Bo Derek, Alex Trebek, Jerry O'Connell, and David Cassidy are among the celebrities scheduled to appear on TVG's second annual Viewer's Choice Awards that will air tonight (Feb. 11) at 9:00 (EST/6:00 PST).
A new network to telecast horse races was unveiled Friday by Magna Entertainment Corp., Roberts Communications Network, Inc., and Greenwood Racing, Inc. The service effectively replaces the former satellite served called The Racing Network, which ceased operations last year after failing to sign up enough customers.
Cast members of the megahit HBO series "The Sopranos" were at Aqueduct Racetrack Monday taping an episode to be aired during next season's schedule. Among the more notable stars present in the Equestris dining room, where the scenes were shot, were James Gandolfini, who plays Tony Soprano, Steve Van Zandt, who plays Silvio, Joe Pantoliano, who was cast last year as Ralph, and Jerry Adler, who plays Hesh.
NBC Sports has won the Eclipse Award for National Television-Live Racing Programming for its production of the 2001 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
NBC, which enjoyed solid ratings in its inaugural year of covering racing's Triple Crown in 2001, partially due to cross-promoting the races with its NBA playoff games, will no longer be televising NBA games when its current contract runs out in the spring of 2002.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association unveiled its spring 2002 television schedule for Thoroughbred racing and outlined the full complement of programming planned for next year.
The five-hour Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship telecast on NBC earned a 1.7 rating and captured 4% of the viewing audience. They were the lowest ratings the championship has ever received.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Breeders' Cup, and NBC Sports have agreed to a four-year extension that will keep the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on NBC through 2005, officials from the organizations announced Tuesday at a press conference in New York City. The Breeders' Cup has been televised on NBC since it began in 1984.
- By Tom LaMarra
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. The changes are tied to Tuesday's terrorist attacks on New York City and the ongoing effects.
- By Tom LaMarra
Belmont Park in New York will be closed Thursday and Friday, but the New York Racing Association said the track would be open for live racing Saturday. Meanwhile, the national broadcasts of stakes from Belmont this weekend were dependent on several factors, according to an official with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Chip Campbell, who has a background in sports marketing and sponsorship, has been named senior vice president of television and sponsorship for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. He will begin Aug. 1 and be based at the NTRA's New York office.
The Blood-Horse has learned that NBC's 2001 telecast of the Breeders' Cup October 27 will be lengthened to a five-hour program, representing an extra 30 minutes of coverage over previous years.
While NBC's Belmont Stakes telecast showed improvement over its Preakness effort, there seems to be a basic flaw in the 90-minute format of these classic productions -- the race comes too late in the show, leaving little time for replays, interviews, and analysis.
The NBC coverage of the 126th Preakness Stakes on Saturday delivered a 5.6 national rating/16 share from 5:00-6:39 p.m. EST.
The 5.6 rating represents an impressive 56 percent increase over last year's 3.6/10 on ABC and ties 1992 as the highest rated telecast since 1990 when it earned a 7.2/21. NBC's broadcast peaked from 6:00 - 6:30 p.m. with a 7.2/19.
They have similar hair styles and both train good horses, so perhaps Bob Baffert was beginning to panic when Kentucky Derby winner John Ward got all the air time to launch one-liners on NBC's coverage of the Preakness. With Baffert's Point Given knotting the score with Ward's Monarchos, however, expect a tight battle of witticisms for the upcoming Belmont.
NBC, which paid a reported $51.5 million to telecast the Triple Crown for five years and end a 26-year run for ABC, saw a 26% increase in the overnight ratings for Saturday's Kentucky Derby. In figures compiled by the A.C. Nielsen Co., the Derby garnered an 8.3 rating in 51 television markets nationwide and a 20% share. That's up from the 6.6 rating and 17 share the Derby received in 2000 on ABC.
Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA will feature 17 program this year, with the first segment focused on the Triple Crown. Thoroughbred Classics will debut Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN Classic with a retrospective on this Saturday's Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
- By Tom Keyser
The show opens with a drumbeat, a horse running, and the words: "In the world of the thoroughbred, one thing you can count on is the unexpected." The show is "Thoroughbred," a 13-part series about life at Bonita Farm, the Boniface family's pride and joy in Maryland -- home to Deputed Testamony, winner of the 1983 Preakness. The first 30-minute episode begins at 8 p.m. (ET) Tuesday (April 3) on the cable channel Animal Planet. Subsequent episodes will be televised Tuesdays at that hour through June 19 (and also at 7 p.m. Saturdays).
Listings of racing on television and upcoming stakes.
Listing of televised racing and upcoming stakes races.
A schedule of stakes races and televised races for the weekend of Feb. 17-19.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- In its first three years, the NTRA has proven it can put out fires -- and there have been many. It's what happens next that is really important, because putting out fires was not what the NTRA's commissioner, Tim Smith, was hired to do. If Smith and his top aides no longer are required to spend most of their time and energy keeping the organization intact, we finally will be able to gauge how effective this national office for racing can be.
According to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, this is the upcoming schedule for races on television:
This year's schedule, which runs through December, will feature more than 60 stakes from about 30 different tracks. The NTRA has released the schedule for the first quarter of 2001.
NTRA Productions has released the "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby" series, which will feature 15 races that lead up to the first leg of the Triple Crown. The series begins Feb. 18 and concludes with a Triple Crown Special April 29.
Presentations of Horse of the Year, Trainer of the Year and Race of the Year highlight the inaugural TVG "Viewer Choice Awards" to be aired live on the TVG Network on Monday, January 29 from 9-10 PM EST (6-7 PM PST). Hosted by TVG anchors Caton Bredar and Greg Wolf, the ceremony will honor 14 categories of achievement in Thoroughbred, harness and quarter horse racing. The winners were selected through on on-line poll of TVG viewers, with over one million votes cast over a two-week period.
The re-entry of Magna Entertainment's seven racetracks into the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is expected to have an immediate impact on the NTRA's winter television schedule on ESPN and ESPN2, beginning with its first telecast on Feb. 3. That telecast will feature the Donn Handicap (gr. I) from Gulfstream Park and the Strub Stakes (gr. II) and San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) from Santa Anita. Both tracks are owned by Magna, whose chairman, Frank Stronach, announced on Jan. 17 in a joint statement with the NTRA that he has made a two-year commitment to rejoin the organization.
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