04/29/2005 12:00AM

ESPN signs eight-year deal with Breeders' Cup


ESPN announced Friday that it has signed an eight-year contract to televise the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, beginning in 2006.

Under the agreement, ESPN will air a live, seven-hour program on Breeders' Cup Day, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m Eastern. ESPN and ABC Sports will also televise five two-hour telecasts from June through October, featuring major stakes races leading up to the Breeders' Cup.

This year's Breeders' Cup, to be run Oct. 29, will be televised by NBC Sports, which has aired the program since its inception in 1984.

The richest day of racing in North America, the Breeders' Cup consists of eight races, with purses and awards totaling $14 million.