01/20/2014 1:59PM

Fox Sports 1, Jockey Club release list of televised stakes


The Dubai World Cup and five Grade 1 turf races for older horses will be among the 20 live stakes races broadcast on Fox Sports 1 this year as part of a partnership with the Jockey Club, the organizations announced Monday.

The nine-broadcast series will kick off Feb. 9 with a 90-minute program that will include live coverage of the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, the organizations said. Six weeks later, the March 29 Dubai World Cup will be featured during another 90-minute broadcast, with seven other broadcasts sprinkled throughout the spring and late-summer racing calendar, culminating with the Woodbine Mile at Woodbine on Sept. 14.

The schedule is currently heavily tilted to the older turf division, which this year will likely be led once again by two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan. Trainer Charlie LoPresti has not yet announced a schedule for the 7-year-old horse, but in both of his Horse of the Year campaigns, he prepped for the Breeders’ Cup Mile in the Woodbine Mile.

Two races for 3-year-olds also are on the schedule, the April 12 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, one of the most important prep races for the Kentucky Derby, and the July 20 Coaching Club American Oaks, restricted to fillies, at Saratoga Race Course on the track’s opening weekend. A race for 2-year-olds, the Saratoga Special, will be the featured race during the Aug. 10 broadcast.

The Jockey Club announced that it had partnered with Fox Sports 1 on a new racing series for 2014 just prior to the network launching in late summer 2013. Fox Sports 1 is one of a number of new sports channels that have popped up in the past three years as programmers have clamored to position themselves in a niche in which the majority of broadcasts are watched live rather than recorded on DVRs.

During the broadcasts, Fox Sports 1 officials have said that they plan to focus more heavily on handicapping and the intricacies of training and horsemanship than other networks, topics that many major broadcasters generally avoid because of the complexity of both subjects and the often cryptic jargon used by experts to explain them.

The Jockey Club partnered with Fox Sports 1 as part of a recommendation made by a consulting group on how to stem the erosion of the sport’s fan base. Among other recommendations, the consulting group, McKinsey and Co., said that racing should increase its exposure on television.

After the release of the consulting group’s report midway through 2012, the Jockey Club said it would commit $10 million over five years to implement some of the recommendations. The races in the Fox Sports 1 broadcast series are expected to be coupled with the Jockey Club’s efforts to reach out to younger fans through a “brand ambassador” program that uses a branded bus to transport the program’s employees to racetracks, where they mingle with attendees and hand out promotional materials.

Although 10 races were announced Monday as being part of the new series, the Jockey Club said that additional races would be shown live during the nine broadcasts. Those races will be identified “in the near future,” the Jockey Club said in a release.

Three of the last four broadcasts will feature live races from Saratoga. In the past several years, Saratoga’s operator, the New York Racing Association, has partnered with NBC Sports to broadcast weekend stakes races from the track.

NYRA spokesman Eric Wing said Monday that NYRA is “still working out details, but we do expect that racing at Saratoga will be televised on the NBC family of network several times during the 2014 meet.”

FOX Sports 1 series
Feb. 9: Donn Handicap, Gulfstream Park, 5-6:30 p.m.
March 29: Dubai World Cup, Meydan, 1-2:30 p.m.
April 12: Blue Grass Stakes, Keeneland, 4:30-6 p.m.
May 11: Man o’ War Stakes, Belmont Park, 4:30-6 p.m.
July 6: United Nations Stakes, Monmouth Park, 5-6:30 p.m.
July 20: Eddie Read Stakes, Del Mar; Coaching Club American Oaks, Saratoga; 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: Saratoga Special, Saratoga, 5-6:30 p.m.
Aug. 17: Sword Dancer, Saratoga, 5-6:30 p.m.
Sept. 14: Woodbine Mile, Woodbine, 5-6:30 p.m.
(all times Eastern)

Patricia Jones More than 1 year ago
depends on broadcasters no pincay probably won't watch
michael More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately Stakes races are being moved to Sundays to accomodate tv. Whats next, the Ky Derby. Hopefully pressure from television addressing trainers drug issues will help clean up the sport. Ignore it, and they're no better in repirting this issue thab those who ignore it now.
gallopingtom More than 1 year ago
Fox Sports 1 Do not hire anyone that has appeared on a horse racing telecast. They all are horrible to watch. Pick your own talent. Stop retreading the same cast of know nothings. FYI, I'm available those weekends.
Sal Carcia More than 1 year ago
Mckinsey reported to the JC major TV coverage dropped from 175 hours to 43 hours between 2003 and 2011. Glad to see the JC folowing through on the recommendations of the study.
Jeff More than 1 year ago
Man o` War moved to the month of May!?Any other big changes to the Belmont sched?
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Yes, you have to wonder how that will effect the Woodford Reserve and, to a lesser extent, the Dixie. Not a good move - why not give the turf distance horses as many chances to run in a Grade 1 as possible? On another note, I hope that NBCSN's coverage of Saratoga will continue - they do a pretty good job, minus most of the fluff that NBC apparently feels is necessary to pad their Triple Crown telecasts.
Bill Opalka More than 1 year ago
Let's hope they're serious about the horses and handicapping coverage. I wish they had announced the on-air talent so we would have a clue if they really mean it. If this degenerates into yet another pretty ladies in hats showcase, then all hope is lost for building a mass audience for the broadcasts. How has that worked out for ESPN and NBC? And I hope the directors/camera operators don't resort to confusing gimmicks, just "because they can."
Tony Murabito More than 1 year ago
It's a start.
Lefty More than 1 year ago
Too bad they didn't get the Kings Bishop! Not only that, I wish Lost in the Fog and Harry Aleo were still alive. Anyway, I am happy that Fox Sports is into the Ponies, I wonder who they will get to do the showings!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where's the Big Cap? Where's the Arlington Million? Where's the Haskell? Belmont Super Saturday? Where's every Derby prep race besides the Blue Grass?
You Feel Lucky More than 1 year ago
Don't ya think some other channels, NBC, ESPN, etc....may be covering some of the other races?
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Not really...
michael More than 1 year ago
espn is gone.
P More than 1 year ago
The article said Fox is still working deals so perhaps the Haskell Invitational will appear there. WGN has been airing nationally the Arlington Million (and Beverly D plus Secretariat) but their production of the races are poor.
Sal Carcia More than 1 year ago
The Arlington Million is certainly one of the most important North American racing events of the year. It doesn't get the national major TV coverage it deserves.
Nathan More than 1 year ago
the blue grass is a prep for the pacific classic.
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
Great news!