As reinforced by the launch of the “Still Running Strong” campaign last week, horse racing isn’t just the only major sport operating from coast-to-coast – it’s also gaining strength with more tracks reopening in June and July.
On Wednesday, Belmont Park in New York resumes live racing on what would have been Belmont Stakes week. That cornerstone race will instead be run this year on June 20 as the first (rather than the traditional third) leg of the Triple Crown. What all of the movement amounts to for fans of the sport is more horse racing on national TV. In fact, this Saturday kicks off what might likely be seven straight weeks of racing coverage on NBC.
This Saturday, from 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC will rebroadcast the 2015 Belmont Stakes. Of course, the 2015 Belmont saw the coronation of the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, American Pharoah. Then, next Saturday June 13, NBC will re-air a two-hour block of coverage from the 2015 Breeders’ Cup which was held at Keeneland (also the site of this year’s Breeders’ Cup). The show is set to begin on 4 p.m. ET and will feature the 2015 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf won by Found and American Pharoah’s Grand Slam-sweeping score in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
On June 20, NBC’s live airing of the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park is scheduled from 3-6 p.m. ET. The first leg of this year’s Triple Crown could feature a possible showdown between East Coast-based Tiz the Law and California-based Charlatan. Tiz the Law is owned by Sackatoga Stable, which owned 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide. Listen to Sackatoga Stable's Jack Knowlton on The Winner’s Circle podcast with Bram Weinstein.
The last Saturday of the month, June 27, NBC’s coverage will feature a double-serving of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races live from Churchill Downs. Beginning at 5 p.m. ET, the broadcast will include the Fleur de Lis Handicap and the Stephen Foster Handicap. The Fleur de Lis is a “Win and You’re In” automatic-entry race for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Stephen Foster will award an all-expenses paid ticket to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic for the winning connections.
On July 4, the scene shifts back to New York for Independence Day racing live from Belmont Park. NBC’s national coverage starts at 5 p.m. and will be headlined by the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap – better known as the Met Mile. The race is another Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race, awarding entry into the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
While the NBC schedule for July 11 is still pending, July 18 will be a mid-Triple Crown showcase of some of the best 3-year-old horses in the country in the TVG.com Haskell Invitational Stakes. New Jersey’s biggest race, held annually at Monmouth Park, is likely to attract horses prepping for the all-important Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve which has been rescheduled for Sept. 5. For the first time, the Haskell offers qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, and it’s also a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Coverage of the Haskell is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. ET.
Keep on eye on our weekly “Where to Watch/Listen” posts for the most current and up-to-date scheduling of horse racing on TV, radio and online.