On Aug. 8, Fox Sports announced a new partnership with The Jockey Club as the two corporations will team up to broadcast elite racing featuring the sports top stars.
The partnership will kick off on Feb. 9, 2014, with the Donn and Gulfstream Park Turf Handicaps, a pair of Grade 1 races that regularly draw the best horses from their respective divisions.
The Donn and Gulfstream Park Handicaps will bat leadoff for a newly created series of nationally televised races with as many as 10 broadcasts a year on FOX Sports 1, America’s new sports network scheduled to launch on Saturday, Aug. 17.
The deal allows The Jockey Club and America’s Best Racing, the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing, to help continue to develop racing’s fan base with a network that has cultivated the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a sport very popular with young sports fans, and helped grow NASCAR by producing Emmy-winning telecasts since 2001.
Fox Sports also has helped bolster both the National Football League and Major League Baseball with broadcasts that utilize top on-air talent, cutting-edge technology, and creative branding.
The partnership officially was announced by John Entz, FOX Sports executive vice president of production and executive producer, and The Jockey Club Chairman Ogden Mills Phipps.
“We’re proud to partner with The Jockey Club and to place a bet on the future of Thoroughbred racing,” said Entz. “FOX Sports 1 is all about making sports more fun, and few events in sports are as much fun as a day at a great racetrack. Our partnership with The Jockey Club highlights the elements that make horse racing fun: the power and grace of the Thoroughbred, the challenging puzzle of handicapping, and the social aspect of a day at the races. We look forward to showcasing the highest level of competition in one of the most storied of all sports.”
The race series features graded stakes races from some of the most historic racetracks in North America, including Del Mar, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, Santa Anita Park and Woodbine as well as the racetracks of the New York Racing Association. The complete 2014 schedule of races will be released at a later date.
The agreement also includes international and Spanish-language rights, including the ability to air races on FOX Deportes, the nation’s leading Spanish-language sports network.
“The Jockey Club is thrilled to be joining forces with FOX Sports to showcase many of this country’s most prestigious races before a national television audience,” said Phipps. “Increasing the national television presence of Thoroughbred racing continues to be a key component of our fan retention and development efforts under the America’s Best Racing banner, and it will be gratifying to see Thoroughbred racing alongside Major League Baseball, college basketball, college football, NASCAR, and UFC events on the new FOX Sports 1.”