Updated on 09/15/2011 1:07PM

Baseball preempts races on TV


NEW YORK - Racing fans looking for live racing telecasts of more than a dozen significant Breeders' Cup prep races the weekend of Oct. 6-7 will be disappointed. Live broadcasts of the weekend's top races, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Spinster Stakes, Ancient Title Handicap, and Beldame Stakes, will be shown live only on Television Games Network, the racing channel that is available to a limited number of subscribers.

Several of the races were scheduled to be shown on ESPN and other cable networks, but because the baseball season has been extended due to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, the broadcasts have been preempted. Other races, like the Spinster Stakes, were never scheduled because of a lack of available air time.

Many of the weekend's races serve as springboards to races in the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Belmont Park. Five of the races from Belmont Park on Oct. 6, the Gold Cup, Beldame, Frizette, Kelso Handicap, and Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, have been shown on NBC-TV for the past five years as part of the network's Breeders' Cup preview coverage. But this year, NBC is broadcasting NASCAR racing on weekends, and the network did not have a broadcast window for Thoroughbred racing, network and racing officials said. NBC's previously scheduled broadcast of racing, a two-hour telecast from Belmont on Sept. 15, was cancelled because of the terrorist attacks.

As it stands, only two major races on the weekend of Oct. 6-7 will be broadcast live: the Champagne and the Grade 2 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, both for 2 year olds. The stakes will be part of a one-hour broadcast on CNBC under the sponsorship agreement that Bessemer Trust reached this year with the NTRA and Breeders' Cup. Five of the weekend graded races will be shown tape-delayed on ESPN2 during a two-hour broadcast from 10:30 p.m. Eastern until 12:30 p.m. The races include the Spinster Stakes and Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes from Keeneland on Oct. 7; the Grade 1 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap from Santa Anita on Oct. 6; and the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile Stakes and Goodwood Handicap from Santa Anita on Oct. 7.