04/18/2002 11:00PM

Cable station drops Santa Anita program

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - Santa Anita has been informed by officials of the Fox Sports Net 2 cable network that the "Santa Anita Live" program," which has aired each racing day since January 1997, will be discontinued when the current meeting ends on Sunday.

Amy Zimmerman, Santa Anita's director of broadcasting, said she was told of the decision by Fox officials last week.

"As of right now, they have informed me formally in writing that they are going to exercise their option and not pick it up," Zimmerman said. "It's disappointing."

The cancellation is the latest change in television coverage of racing in California. Earlier this year, the California Horse Racing Board approved advance deposit wagering in the state. Since then, tracks have scrambled to get racing presented on television in an effort to reach customers who could bet through telephone or Internet.

The decision by Fox came the same week that the network announced that Television Games Network, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based racing network, will provide two hours of daily coverage on Fox Sports Net 2 of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, beginning Wednesday.

The arrangement is scheduled to continue during the Del Mar, Oak Tree at Santa Anita, and Hollywood Park fall meetings.

Those racing associations have agreements with TVG, while the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting is allied with Xpressbet, a rival advance deposit wagering service owned by Magna Entertainment, the parent company of Santa Anita.

Dennis Johnson, the public relations director of Fox Sports Net, said future involvement with Santa Anita has not been ruled out. "That has yet to be determined," he said. "We've entered into an agreement with TVG," he said, that will begin Wednesday.

"Santa Anita Live" presented two live races, racing news and features, and a review of the day's events at Santa Anita and major tracks nationwide. Zimmerman emphasized that Santa Anita never paid Fox Sports Net 2 for telecast time.

"We never paid for the show," she said. "We provided programming."

At this point it is unclear what sort of television programming Santa Anita will present when its next winter-spring meeting starts on Dec. 26. One option is believed to be an expansion of the "Santa Anita Now" program, which airs each Saturday on KDOC-TV in the Los Angeles area. That show is on for three hours on Saturday and could be expanded to include additional days. The drawback is that the station has limited reach outside of Los Angeles, compared with Fox Sports Net 2, which is available via satellite. Zimmerman did not elaborate on Santa Anita's options.

"We'll continue to pursue any and all avenues," Zimmerman said.

Flores to ride at Royal Ascot

David Flores will continue his close alliance with Godolphin Racing this June when he rides the Royal Ascot meeting in England for the first time, according to his agent, Jim Pegram.

Flores has ridden frequently for Godolphin in recent years, including a victory aboard Tempera in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last October at Belmont Park. Flores rides for Godolphin's 2-year-old division in California, which is trained by Eoin Harty, and has made two trips to ride in Dubai this spring for major races.

At Churchill Downs in two weeks, Flores will ride two classic mounts for Godolphin - Essence of Dubai in the Kentucky Derby and Tempera in the Kentucky Oaks.

Higher takeout idea progresses

Proposed legislation that would increase the takeout in California to offset recent price increases for workmen's compensation policies was the subject of a meeting of industry officials on Thursday in Sacramento and is moving closer to being introduced.

Industry officials say a hike in takeout ranging from a quarter- to a half-percent could provide $7 to $17 million in revenue for trainers, who have paid higher costs this year. According to Ed Halpern, the executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the bill is being rewritten and will be reviewed by industry officials before being presented to the legislature.

The bill has been opposed by CHRB members, who do not want to see costs passed on to bettors.

Caller One pointed for Singapore

Caller One, who defended his title in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Stakes at Nad Al Sheba on March 23, is being pointed for the $548,000 KrisFlyer Sprint in Singapore on May 11, his trainer, Jim Chapman, said.

The KrisFlyer Sprint is run over six furlongs on turf and will be the first start on turf for the 5-year-old Caller One.

Chapman said that Western Pride, the winner of the San Fernando Stakes who was unplaced in the Dubai World Cup, is being pointed for a race at Singapore on the same day. Gary Stevens will ride both horses, who have remained in Dubai since late March under the care of Chapman's father, James, and sister, Kristi.

o Suances, who was scratched from an allowance race on turf at Santa Anita on Wednesday, will be pointed for the $250,000 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile on turf at Bay Meadows on April 27. Suances has made one start for Vienna, finishing unplaced in the Explosive Bid Handicap at Fair Grounds in late March. The 5-year-old Suances was a Group 1 winner in France in 2000.