Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ESPN networks to televise Breeders Cup Challenge races


The schedule could be adjusted to give Zenyatta a turn in the spotlight during college football

The Breeders' Cup announced Monday the ESPN telecast schedule for Breeders' Cup Challenge races on October 10, 11 and 17. The races will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic.

The telecast schedule will be highlighted with a race that will air live on ESPN during its college football doubleheader on October 10 -- either the Goodwood S. (G1), a Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) prep featuring 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner MINE THAT BIRD (Birdstone), or the Lady's Secret S. (G1), a Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) prep featuring the undefeated sensation ZENYATTA (Street Cry [Ire]), who could tie Hall of Famer Personal Ensign's perfect 13-for-13 mark.

The Goodwood is currently scheduled for 7:20 p.m. (ET), the slot that will be featured live on ESPN during ESPN's College Football Scoreboard Show, college football schedule permitting.

The Lady's Secret, however, could be moved to the 7:20 p.m. slot in honor of Zenyatta's historic quest. Should the Lady's Secret be pushed back to 7:20, the Goodwood will be moved up to 6:45.

The October 11 telecast from Keeneland will feature two Breeders' Cup Challenge races, the Spinster S. (G1), a Ladies' Classic prep, and the Bourbon S. (G3), a stepping stone to the Juvenile Turf.

"This year's Breeders' Cup Challenge telecasts on ESPN are full of excitement, and is an interesting model which includes televising a marquee race live during ESPN's College Football doubleheader in between the two games," Breeders' Cup President and CEO Greg Avioli said. "Given the increased participation and success of international Thoroughbreds in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, we thought it would be fitting to close our ESPN telecast schedule with international races."

The ESPN telecast schedule will coincide with the conclusion of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series and end on October 17 with international races from Toronto at Woodbine Racetrack and in the United Kingdom at Newmarket, featuring some of the world's top Thoroughbreds who could head to the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

The broadcast team will include Joe Tessitore hosting with color analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, reporters Jeannine Edwards and Jay Privman and handicapping from Hank Goldberg.

"ESPN and the Breeders' Cup continue to find creative and innovative ways to serve this marquee event to the horse racing fan and this year's Breeders' Cup Challenge is no exception," said Len DeLuca, ESPN senior vice president, programming & acquisitions. "With racing on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic we feel we can engage sports fan of all varieties to generate the buzz and excitement we are looking for leading up to the Breeders' Cup in November."

The Breeders' Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races and $25.5 million in purses, will be held during the Oak Tree Racing Association meeting at Santa Anita on November 6-7 in Arcadia, California.

Breeders' Cup Challenge races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic include (all times are ET, and all races are live unless otherwise noted):

October 10, 5-7:30 p.m. Breeders' Futurity (5:10 p.m.) Keeneland ESPN Classic
Shadwell Turf Mile (5:45 p.m.) Keeneland ESPN Classic
Oak Tree Mile (6:10 p.m.) Oak Tree at Santa Anita ESPN Classic
Lady's Secret or Goodwood (6:45 p.m.) Oak Tree at Santa Anita ESPN Classic
Goodwood or Lady's Secret (7:20 p.m.) Oak Tree at Santa Anita ESPN
October 11, 5-6 p.m. Bourbon (5:10 p.m.) Keeneland ESPN
Spinster (5:43 p.m.) Keeneland ESPN
October 17, 4-6 p.m Canadian International (TBD) Woodbine ESPN2
E.P. Taylor (TBD) Woodbine ESPN2
Nearctic (TBD) Woodbine ESPN2
Champion (same day tape) Newmarket ESPN2