BALTIMORE,MD 04-27-09---Horse Racing Television (HRTV) and ESPN will team up to provide 10 and half hours shoulder programming on-air and online during Preakness week.The headline event of the week is the 134th running of the $1 million Preakness® Stakes (Grade I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, on May 16, but the week also features the Preakness post position draw and 15 other stakes races.
HRTV, a cable and satellite channel dedicated to horse racing with access to over 70 tracks, will simulcast the events on ESPN360.com for exclusive live online coverage in the US. ESPN360.com is ESPN's broadband sports network that gives fans a 24/7 online destination delivering more than 3,500 live global sports events annually. It is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider.
“HRTV is very proud to take on a larger role in covering the events surrounding this year’s Preakness Stakes,” said HRTV executive producer Amy J. Zimmerman. “This will mark HRTV’s 7th consecutive year of on-site coverage and we are pleased to expand our audience through Pimlico’s partnership with ESPN 360.com.”
On Wednesday, May 13 HRTV will produce and host a 30-minute broadcast of the Preakness Post Position Draw, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern. Starting post positions for the Preakness will be drawn in an area adjacent to the Pimlico stakes barn. Pimlico racing officials will use a pill pull, which employs a small numbered ball in a blind draw, to decide post positions for the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown. The Preakness is limited to 14 starters. Fourteen of the last 17 years have produced double-digit starters.
The Friday, May 15 card features seven stakes races, six for fillies and mares, highlighted by the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan for three-year-old fillies and the Adena Stallions’ Miss Preakness (Grade III). The day will also include eight of the nation’s top riders in the inaugural Pimlico Jockey Challenge. First post is 12:15 p.m.
The Preakness day card features nine stakes races, seven of which are graded. In addition to the Preakness, other top races include the Dixie Handicap (Grade II), the Allaire duPont Distaff (Grade II) and four Grade III races.
HRTV's expanded Preakness Week coverage will be anchored by Laffit Pincay III, Jeff Siegel and Millie Ball. The network's daily coverage will begin during its "RaceDay America" show, at Noon ET, with a special 10 a.m. Eastern start on May 16 emanating from HRTV's California studio. HRTV's daily coverage from Pimlico will include coverage of each race from Old Hilltop, including the Thursday, May 14 card, with post race stakes interviews, the latest workouts for Preakness contenders, as well as expert analysis from the network's onsite experts.
ESPN 360.com Preakness Coverage
|Wed., May 13||5:00-5:30 p.m.||Post Position Draw Show|
|Fri., May 15||1:00-6:00 p.m.||Friday Undercard|
|Sat., May 16||11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.||Saturday Undercard|
In addition, two other HRTV original shows -- "Across The Board" and "Pursuit of the Crown, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton" -- will originate from Pimlico. "Across The Board," which conducts weekly interviews with some of the sport's biggest personalities, will air on Wednesday, while "Pursuit of the Crown," which has chronicled the Triple Crown trail since this winter, will provide the latest on Preakness happenings on Thursday through Preakness Day.
“We are pleased HRTV and ESPN 360.com are on board for a greater presence during Preakness week,” said Tom Chuckas, Maryland Jockey Club president and chief operating officer. “There is a special feeling during Preakness week and this allows millions of cable television and on-line viewers to share the excitement.”
NBC Sports presents exclusive live coverage of the Preakness, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. Post time for Maryland’s marquee race is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern. Since its involvement in the Triple Crown, NBC Sports has been honored with nine Eclipse Awards for its thoroughbred racing coverage, including five for live racing coverage from the Preakness (2002-03-05-06-08) and one for a feature on War Emblem that aired during the 2002 Preakness telecast. The 2005 and 2006 broadcasts were Sports Emmy finalists for Outstanding Live Sports Special. The 2007 race was nominated for an ESPY Award for outstanding finish.
WBAL-TV, Baltimore’s NBC affiliate, will be live from Pimlico on May 16 with a pre-race show from 2:00-4:30 p.m. and a post race show until 8 p.m.
Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) will provide eight hours of national radio coverage on May 15-16.