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Monday, May 16, 2011

Saratoga - The TV Series

Wanted of course to mention the deal that NYRA reached with NBC and Versus to televise each of the seven Saturday cards from Saratoga (plus an 8th one on Sunday Aug 7, just for good measure). Three of those, including the Travers, will be on NBC itself, with the rest on Versus (which I've long touted as a potential TV partner for the sport). It's said to be the most extensive national television coverage from Saratoga....ever. (Though of course, for most of its history, Saratoga only ran for four weeks.)

NYRA thus has succeeded where the NTRA and the Breeders' Cup has failed, getting the sport on national TV, from where it's been steadily disappearing over the last few years. And particularly disappointing as you know has been the steady deterioration of ESPN's commitment to the sport. Not sure what that network's schedule is for this year's runup to the Breeders' Cup; but if last year is any indication, it won't be much....and surely far less than the eight programs to originate from Saratoga.

With all the criticism, including from this corner, of the overall quality of the too-long Saratoga meet (especially and in particular as compared to years past), it is still surely the only meeting in the country that could supply stakes races of sufficient quality and prestige to warrant a weekly program. And full credit to NYRA, which never gets an equal amount of praise for things that they do right as the criticism it gets when things go wrong. Just a fantastic job here. They developed and produced their own weekly show from the Spa and sold it to MSG Network; and no doubt used that as the basis and model for the new show on NBC. Bravo!

- Drosselmeyer ensured that he won't be another of those Belmont Stakes winners who never won another race with a minor stakes victory at the track on Sunday. He took the short route home and held off Birdrun, a Florida-bred who seems to really thrive over the Belmont main track. Drosselmeyer though earned a modest Beyer of 91, and is likely to be overbet if and when he moves up to face graded stakes company next time.


Figless said...

I thought the Versus coverage of the under card was terrific last week, pleased to see they signed on for more.

As for NBC, since its NOT the Derby hopefully NYRA can prod them into being more racing centric, instead of giving us history lessons about the Big Red Spring, the lady's hat day coverage and the chili cook off.

And I presume they will leave Bob Costas at home.

steve in nc said...

I just hope NYRA gets the telebet service in better shape before then. (I had praised them previously, but some issues have arisen.)

On Derby Day, first they wouldn't take my P3 combos, telling me my horses in leg 3 were scratched when they weren't. Then it was fairly impossible to get through after 4:30.

And last Saturday, I got shut out of Bemont's 3rd despite starting to call with 5 MTP. 5 minutes of nonstop busy signals. Of course I owe them a thank-you note for saving me $40.

Figless said...

I too have encountered frequent busy signals, a very rare occurence in the past. Can not even get through to the automated wagering system.

Derby Day was atrocious.

So much for Charlie's "improved service" from Oregon. I am starting to side with the Governor on this one, there are plenty of struggling folks in NY that would take these jobs.

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen Versus up here in the sticks. Assume it is pay-per-view or offered in a cable TV package? I Googled for Versus but didn't find any contact info. Via Direct TV? Comcast? How much? /S/greenmtnpunter