02/27/2004 12:00AM

Saturday TV shows will have pick fours


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association television-production schedule for this summer and fall will include 25 stakes races broadcast live during five two-hour telecasts.

The first broadcast is scheduled for June 12, a Saturday, from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern. The broadcasts will continue until Oct. 2, with roughly one program per month, broadcast either on ESPN or ABC.

Called "Super Saturdays," the broadcasts are structured to emphasize stakes races that lead up to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, scheduled for Oct. 30 this year. A pick four will be offered on four of the races during each broadcast. Takeout for the wager will be 25 percent.

Eric Wing, a spokesman for the NTRA, said that the broadcasts were all time-buys, meaning that the NTRA purchased the time from the networks and will produce the broadcasts. The NTRA will also receive a large share of the proceeds from advertising during the programs.

The New York Racing Association will have 12 of its stakes races broadcast as part of the NTRA schedule, by far the most of any racing organization, including four of the six races broadcast during the last Super Saturday program, on Oct. 2. The tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. will have seven stakes races broadcast.

A July 3 broadcast will also feature a recap of the week's racing at Royal Ascot, one of Europe's most prestigious meetings.