FOX Sports Horse Racing TV Coverage Expanded

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced this week a three-year extension of the groundbreaking television programming deal with FOX Sports to broadcast NYRA’s flagship TV program Saratoga Live on FS2. With this announcement, live daily coverage of racing from Saratoga Race Course will be available to a national television audience through 2020.

“There’s no place like Saratoga and FOX Sports is delighted to be headed back to the Spa for three more summers,” said Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports Executive Vice President, Research, League Operations and Strategy. “We are very excited to extend and expand our partnership with NYRA, which provides high-quality live programming for FS2, and gives our fans access to insightful and entertaining daily coverage of the best race meet in North America.”

Saratoga canopy walk through“Partnering with FOX Sports has enabled NYRA to present the best race meet to horse racing and sports fans on a live and consistent basis,” said Tony Allevato, NYRA Bets President and Executive Producer of NYRA TV. “This extension ensures that people across the country will continue to be able to watch world-class thoroughbred racing on FS2.”

NYRA launched the critically-acclaimed Saratoga Live during the 2016 summer meet at Saratoga, which included 80 hours of live coverage. This year, FOX Sports expanded the schedule to include Saturdays from Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack, bringing the total amount of live coverage on FS2 to more than 100 hours.

In 2017, NYRA added new markets in California and Ohio via agreements with several Regional Sports Networks including FOX Sports Prime Ticket, FOX Sports San Diego, and FOX Sports Ohio.

Including all regional networks, Saratoga Live presented by Claiborne Farm and stallion Runhappy, now reaches more than 75 million homes. Saratoga Live airs at 4 p.m. on most live racing days.

This Saturday, Travers Day at Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Live will air on FS2 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will include the 68thrunning of the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, featuring champion filly Songbird who has amassed a stellar record of 13 wins and one second-place finish in 14 starts.

2017 Saratoga Horse Racing Tickets Go On Sale Tomorrow

copyright AGameofSkill.comThe New York Racing Association, Inc. will welcome the general public to purchase full-season ticket plans and season admission passes for the 2017 meet at historic Saratoga Race Course beginning Wednesday, March 15 at 10 a.m. EST.

Full-season plans, which include reserved seats for the full 40-day season, will be available for purchase online through NYRA AccountManager utilizing the Saratoga Virtual Venue seating map, enabling fans to digitally preview their seat location and sightlines before purchasing tickets.Full-season plans include 40 days of admission based on the cost of a season pass.

A season pass provides fans with admission to 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course, including the Grade 1 Travers and Grade 1 Whitney.

The cost for a 2017 Grandstand season pass is $40; a Clubhouse season pass is $65. Season passes do not include reserved seating and are valid for one admission. Season passes may be purchased through NYRA AccountManager.

2016 season pass buyers will be able to conveniently renew their season passes by logging into NYRA AccountManager from Wednesday, March 8 through Tuesday, March 14. Those who do so during this period will save by not paying Ticketmaster service fees.

“A Saratoga season pass provides fans with the ability to witness the best thoroughbred racing at a world-class sporting and entertainment venue for the equivalent of a dollar a day,” said New York Racing Association Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer Lynn LaRocca. “A Saratoga season pass also comes with an exclusive, free perks program that offers discounts to local restaurants, retailers and Live Nation concerts at SPAC, plus local college basketball and other sporting events. One can easily argue that there is no better value in professional sports.”

The 2017 season will again feature the Saratoga Season Perks program, with exclusive offers for season pass and season ticket plan holders, including the guarantee of a Saratoga premium giveaway on the day of the giveaway. (Season pass or season ticket plan holders must be in attendance at Saratoga Race Course, enter through the designated season ticket and pass holder lines and redeem the giveaway by the designated time. Redemptions will begin when gates open to the general public.)

Saratoga Season Perks members are also entitled to special discounts at dozens of retail, restaurant and professional services locations which are members of the Saratoga Downtown Business Association; as well as various local entertainment venues. Saratoga season pass and season plan holders will receive a 10 percent savings with an activated season pass beginning June 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018. 2016 Saratoga Season Perks members will continue to benefit from last year’s edition of the program through the end of March 2017.

This year’s additions to the Season Perks program include the entire Live Nation summer concert series at Saratoga Performing Arts Center and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, among others.

“Our Saratoga Season Perks program was very well received by our season ticket holders and season pass holders as well as by the many local businesses who partnered with us when we expanded the value-added program last year,” said LaRocca. “We are excited to continue our partnership for the upcoming season with the Saratoga Downtown Business Association, and our other preferred partners. We look forward to again adding value to a season pass as a way to reward our most loyal fans with year-round savings; while also celebrating the relationship between NYRA and the local community.”

“We are excited to be partnering with NYRA again this year for the Saratoga Season Perks program,” said Maddy Zanetti, vice-president of the Saratoga DBA. “Last year we had just over 40 businesses participate and we are expecting the number to grow this year. We are very lucky to have a community with so many organizations that work together to help promote our city and attract visitors. The Perks program is a great way to get racing fans downtown year-round.”

The list of incentives, deals and discounts is available at www.SaratogaSeasonPerks.com and will be continually updated with new participating organizations.

A season pass must be activated in order to receive Saratoga Season Perks discounts and incentives. Season pass holders are required to provide a photo in order to activate their season pass. Activation instructions, including information on how to upload a digital photo, are available at NYRA.com.

The summer racing season at Saratoga Race Course will begin on Friday, July 21 and continue through Labor Day, Monday, September 4.

For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com.

New York and German Racetrack Join Partnership

Intercontinental stakes series created

The New York Racing Association has announced a three-year partnership with one of Germany’s premier racetracks, Hoppegarten Racecourse in Berlin, to host a unique, intercontinental stakes series beginning in 2017.

Through the agreement, NYRA will offer the winning 3-year-old filly of the 2017 Group 2 Diana-Trial, contested at 2,000 meters on the turf at historic Hoppegarten on June 4, an all-fees-paid invitation to the 1 ¼-mile, Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational, one of the preeminent turf stakes in North America, on Stars & Stripes Day, July 8, at Belmont Park. The Belmont Oaks Invitational are ideally timed 34 days after the Diana-Trial and 29 days before the Group 1 German Oaks allowing the Berlin winner to compete in both races.

Likewise, the winner of the Group 2 Comer Group International Oleander-Rennen for four-year-olds and upwards, held at 3,200 meters on May 14, will receive an all-fees-paid invitation to compete in the two-mile, Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 9. The newly-upgraded Group 2 The Comer Group International Oleander-Rennen, Germany’s premier extended distance race, is upgraded to Group 2 for the first time in 2017 and will launch its winner onto a challenging international campaign.

Additionally, NYRA will offer a generous travel allowance for each qualifying horse and hospitality on the race day.

“The New York Racing Association is thrilled to enter into a relationship with Hoppegarten Race Course. As we look to elevate our international presence, this agreement connecting these races made a lot of sense in trying to further promote both of our racing programs,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. “The timing is ideal and the race conditions match. The story behind Hoppegarten Race Course is most fascinating and we look forward to working together in our efforts to bring German-based horses to race in New York.”

“I am delighted with this exciting new partnership which offers owners excellent prize money and raises our international profile,” said Gerhard Schöningh, Owner and Chairman of Hoppegarten Racecourse. “In addition, winning connections can experience a unique race day at Belmont Park in iconic New York.”

Andrew Cuomo’s Top Aide & the NYRA Conflict

Andrew Cuomo pledged to “clean up Albany.” Running for governor of New York in 2010, the Democrat said that ending the state capital’s culture of insider deals and conflicted interests was his number one priority. Yet, in launching his second term, one of Gov. Cuomo’s first actions was to appoint as his top aide Bill Mulrow,… [Read more…]

Remembering Birmingham’s First Track Announcer

Larry Colmus fbBy Art Parker

It’s been so long few people in Birmingham, Alabama will remember. In 1987, the Birmingham Turf Club opened with promise of being the new “place” in thoroughbred racing. That promise quickly faded as the owners paid a price for trying to run before they could walk by overbuilding and opening doors without much operating cash. The season started with good horses and good purses. About a month after it opened the Birmingham Turf Club crowned an Alabama Derby winner named Lost Code that was thrust into racing’s spotlight and would eventually challenge Bet Twice and Alysheba at the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. Before the end of the meet in October the track was running a card full of $3,500 claimers.

Even fewer people will remember the track announcer at Birmingham its first year. It was 20 year old Larry Collmus.  A native of Baltimore, Collmus had been an assistant announcer in his home state before landing the Birmingham job.

I remember Birmingham in 1987 and hearing Collmus call the races. There were few experienced race goers in Birmingham at the time. For much of the meet patrons were trying to figure out the difference between an exacta and a trifecta instead of paying attention to the race calls. I recall telling a friend that Collmus sounded young but appeared to be very talented. I knew then he would be around the game a long time.

Collmus (age 47) still sounds young and he still does a great job. Collmus has called races around the United States and last year he became the voice of the Kentucky Derby when he landed the job at Churchill Downs.

Now the talented Collmus is changing addresses again. Just this week he landed the track announcer job on America’s biggest racing stage, New York. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced that Collmus will be its voice beginning next April. The current voice of NYRA, Tom Durkin, is stepping down after the Saratoga meet, concluding many years of distinguished service.

NYRA made a good decision and I believe we will hear Collmus calling the Belmont Stakes and the Travers for a long time.

New York’s “Ezzy” named AGameofSkill.com Claimer of the Week

Claimer of the Week at AGameofSkill.comEzzy disposed of the goose eggs in his 2011 earnings box (5-0-0-0, $4,126) with an impressive performance in the sixth race at Aqueduct on Saturday, December 10th. Ezzy was ready to roll in his second race after a layoff, and the drop from $15,000 to a mixed condition race for $7,500 was just what the doctor ordered. Ezzy wasn’t the only class dropper in the field. His early speed proved an advantage over others as he captured the lead from the gate. Midway in the turn Ezzy disposed of a Monmouth shipper and opened up at the quarter pole when asked by apprentice Irad Ortiz, Jr. The 5 year old gelding dashed to the wire in a professional manner and was never threatened by the heavily backed favorite. Ezzy finished the six panels in 1:11 3/5.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez sharpened Ezzy and prepared him to run on the Inner Dirt at Big A with a solid half-mile breeze on that surface ten days before race day.  The dark bay or brown gelding by Rizzi is owned by Linda S. Hayes. The winner paid $10.00 to win. A runner with a ton of back class, Ezzy’s career earnings now exceed $150,000 with five victories from 20 starts.

Ezzy is the first ever recipient of the AGameofSkill.com Claimer of the Week.

NYRA starts blog profiling New York Runners

Kudos to the New York Racing Association as they have recently started a blog devoted to racehorses that compete on the circuit there. Clearly, they are trying to put the spotlight on racehorses of note that compete during the year. It’s a great way to showcase an up-and-coming runner, a veteran horse, a fan favorite, etc.

FREE Past Performances for Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Super Saturday

Download FREE Past Performances for Sunday’s spectacular day at Longchamp for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.  Click here to access day one (Saturday) PPs from Equibase. There are four group 2 stakes on Saturday at Longchamp.

Click here to download Brisnet Ultimate PPs for 10 graded stakes on Super Saturday – Belmont, Santa Anita

Internet Horseracing Wagering gets new Legislation

Congressman Chris Gibson from NYCongressman Chris Gibson (R-New York) has introduced legislation to clarify that online wagering on horse races remains legal in the United States.

 “This legislation will protect the domestic horse racing industry, preserving the foundation of many local communities. In the midst of another successful meet at Saratoga, I am proud to introduce this legislation in the United States House of Representatives,” explained Gibson.

Read the Thoroughbred Times article