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U.S. Steeplechase Championship Day (Oct 17th) NJ/VA

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  • U.S. Steeplechase Championship Day (Oct 17th) NJ/VA

    I will be at the International Gold Cup the day they are broadcasting so I'll miss my chance to see how good the action is on tv but this is quite a coup for the National Steeplechase Association (NSA)!

    Further it's good to see that NBC - via their widely distributed cable channel Universal Sports - is willing to dip its toe into waters to air additional horse racing. The NSA exercised some creativity - inspired no doubt from the FL vs. CA Sunshine Millions that NBC used to air switching between Santa Anita and Gulfstream to keep the action flowing for broadcast audiences.

    One interesting rub is that I'm not aware of the Virginia races being previously ones you could wager on As best as I know only Colonial Downs and a very small handful of OTB locations in Richmond, VA offer wagering in the Old Dominion state.

    Daily Racing Form 8-19-09 "Steeplechasers in TV deal"

    The National Steeplechase Association has organized 12 races scheduled for cards at racecourses in Virginia and New Jersey on Oct. 17 for a Breeders' Cup-style event that will be televised live by NBC Universal Sports, the organization announced on Wednesday.

    The 12-race card, which will offer total purses of $700,000, will be headlined by the most prestigious U.S. steeplechase race on the calendar, the $250,000, Grade 1 Grand National at the Far Hills race meet in New Jersey. First post for the card will be 12:45, with a race run every 20 to 25 minutes, alternating between the six-race card at Far Hills and the six-race card at the International Gold Cup meet at Great Meadow Racecourse in The Plains, Virginia.

    The television broadcast, which will begin at noon, is expected to last five hours, and will include broadband and online coverage, according to the NSA and NBC Universal.

    The NSA will seek to reach agreements with simulcast sites and account-wagering companies to offer betting on the 12-race card, both in the U.S. and in countries in Europe, according to Lou Raffetto, the chief executive officer of the NSA. The association has not yet determined which wagers might be offered, Raffetto said.

    "We're going to try to open the door a little bit and maybe build this event up," Raffetto said. "Hopefully we can raise the awareness of our sport and maybe raise a little revenue in the process."

    Like flat racing, steeplechase racing has struggled to find new racing fans over the past few decades. The Far Hills meet is one of the sport's most popular events, drawing 50,000 fans annually to the New Jersey course, while the International Gold Cup card typically draws approximately 35,000 fans, according to the NSA.

    The three-year contract with NBC Universal Sports is a partnership in which the association and the television network will share in the costs and revenues, according to Raffetto. NBC Universal Sports broadcast the bulk of last year's equestrian events at the Summer Olympics and is one of the few networks to regularly carry equestrian sports outside of flat racing.

    "This is something that fits real well with their coverage," Raffetto said. "It's a lifestyle event to their audience."
    ETA: This is for NBC's ownership of Universal Sports (not NBC Sports directly)

    http://www.universalsports.com/fls/2...ind-on-tv.html
    Last edited by Glimmerglass; Oct. 20, 2009, 01:32 PM.

  • #2
    One of the big networks agrees to air FIVE HOURS of a horse event that isn't the Kentucky Derby?????? Be still, my heart. And pray god there's no hockey game on beforehand....

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Cautiously optimistic - as its worth noting they cite NBC Universal. I make the assumption that is NBC Sports but the "family" also includes USA Network which they've used to air previously the Santa Anita Derby on before. As well as Bravo! which they aired live this year's Kentucky Oaks on.

      Still I doubt that the NSA would've agreed to this if their content was going to aired somewhere out on the cable doldrums ESPN eons ago did air the Far Hills racing action from NJ which has been a huge social event a bit more akin to the very well attended Virginia Gold Cup held in the Spring.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Ok - misleading as this will indeed be aired on Universal Sports which is a cable channel onto itself .. alas

        NBC Universal Sports is a cable station available in approximately 56-million homes, including much of the East Coast.
        I get it where I live but with 56-million homes it is still fewer then say ESPN.

        TB Times 8-19-09 "Steeplechase Championships set for October 17"

        The agreement includes coverage of additional events in 2010.

        Churchill Downs announcer Mark Johnson will call the races at Far Hills, topped by the $250,000 Grand National. Dave Johnson will be the announcer for the International Gold Cup card at Great Meadows.

        As a prelude to the Championships, the National Steeplechase Association will conduct a Fall Steeplechase Festival at Monmouth Park on September 26, offering a full card of Steeplechase races integrated with four flat races.
        Cool that Dave Johnson - likely just for the tv version though - will make the calls for the Virginia 'chasing as I've enjoyed his voice for years. He was NYRA's caller off and on for years from the era of Ruffian into the 1990's. It was his signature ".. and down the stretch they come..."

        Comment


        • #5
          NBC is going to show 5 hours of jump racing on network TV on a Saturday afternoon in Oct, right in the middle of college football season? Methinks this is highly unlikely. Esp when you consider that the Breeders Cup (a 100 times bigger draw) isn't aired of network TV, but is shunted off to cable on ESPN.

          But hey, I'll settle for a webcast and love the idea of simulcast wagering. Now we're talking. About time the US had a mini-Cheltenham. Nice idea to combine a true blue Timber course at The Plains in VA with the brush fences at Far Hills. Hopefully they'll get a decent announcer to call the races, as most of the announcing you see at US jump meets (most of which you can watch archived on the NSA website) is often fairly amatuerish.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post

            Cool that Dave Johnson - likely just for the tv version though - will make the calls for the Virginia 'chasing as I've enjoyed his voice for years. He was NYRA's caller off and on for years from the era of Ruffian into the 1990's. It was his signature ".. and down the stretch they come..."
            Nice coup to get Johnson.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Drvmb1ggl3 View Post
              But hey, I'll settle for a webcast and love the idea of simulcast wagering. Now we're talking. About time the US had a mini-Cheltenham.
              The NSA leadership in the last couple of years has been pressing for bringing their events at tracks simply because that affords the wagering element. They have considered the public's ability to wager on 'chasing as being one of the key drivers to reviving the sport. Clearly this is materializing with several NSA sanctioned dates appearing at places at Monmouth and Philadelphia Park as well as holding on to the Saratoga dates. If they can get wagering for the NJ and now VA dates too then it bolsters their mission.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
                Ok - misleading as this will indeed be aired on Universal Sports which is a cable channel onto itself .. alas
                Ah, this is the world as I know it Clearly, horse racing will have to step it up a notch to get on the bigs - maybe get a jockey to attempt to kill fellow competitors or operate a pit bull kennel? It works for NASCAR and the NFL.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The availablility of Universal Sports is really hit-and-miss. And, of course, it carries a lot (well, relatively ) of horse sports, including the World Cup competition from Vegas.

                  For instance, none of the big cable carriers here in Southern California have it, but if you get the "over-the-air" channels via the digital converter box, you can get it in many areas on channel 4.4. Go figure.

                  So, I guess this means I'll be camped out at the parental units' house, since they refused to keep paying $$ for cable when they watched only three or four channels and went with converter box. Woot! For once I have outsmarted my worthless cable company!!
                  Congratulate me! My CANTER cutie is an honor student at Goofball University!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    TVG commentator Jimmy Duggin showing - while on a mount - the basics of riding a chaser (3 min long video from 2008) filmed at the Kentucky Horse Park

                    http://www.hulu.com/watch/6557/tvg-steeple-chase-101

                    More steeplechasing on tv

                    Per Jimmy, TVG in addition to the remaining two steeplechase races left for the Saratoga meet there will be a steeplechase race from Belmont this fall. Then Septermber 26 at Monmouth Park there will be six steeplechase races on the card that day which is a first - all carried on TVG.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Some of those TVG shorts are pretty good. I wish they'd do more of them.

                      While at Saratoga I checked out the section of steeplechase jump that is hanging out near the old shoe board across from the paddock. It wasn't quite as imposing up close as I thought it would be (maybe because it was only a short section?) and struck me as sort of a combination of a rolltop and brush. The artificial brush was quite wirey and pokey! I would not want to fall on it. But then I wouldn't want to fall before it or after it either.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Barnfairy View Post
                        Some of those TVG shorts are pretty good. I wish they'd do more of them.

                        While at Saratoga I checked out the section of steeplechase jump that is hanging out near the old shoe board across from the paddock. It wasn't quite as imposing up close as I thought it would be (maybe because it was only a short section?) and struck me as sort of a combination of a rolltop and brush. The artificial brush was quite wirey and pokey! I would not want to fall on it. But then I wouldn't want to fall before it or after it either.
                        Yes, a National Hurdle is essentially a rolltop with brush above it. The idea is to get the horses to go through the brush, running faster and jumping longer and lower than what you would see for a typical show horse type. I'm a bigger fan of timber races, which are typically longer races, with bigger, solid jumps.

                        I'm very excited to see this broadcast! Though, like others I won't see it on tv, I will likely be there (with a horse ) Should have the defending winner of the Old Dominion Championship running if his training goes well.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I did a giant news article about this championship for the Times newspapers - it runs next week.
                          It is *not* NBC but one of their baby sports affiliates.
                          Universal does *not* air in Virignia, alas, but does in Md. and DC.
                          They scrapped the NJ Hunt Cup in favor of the International Gold Cup as the big timber of the day but otherwise the cards actually do sort of favor one another - all big hurdle stakes at FH; timber + steeplethon + more modest hurdles + two big turf races at IGC.
                          It might just work - it shows exceptional innovation for hte NSA to finally make a positive out of a negative (they don't have hte gonads to have told Far Hills *no* they may not step onto the established IGC date. (Or vice versa.)
                          Only problem will still be the limited inventory of horseMEN - jockeys will be split so much that there will be little room for error. I'm sure they might import a few from GB.
                          On another note -- HELLOOOOO Glimmerglass. You'll BE at the IGC???????!!!!! I can't believe my eyes. Will we get a chance to finally meet you in the flesh? Details, man, I want details.
                          * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Hunter's Rest View Post
                            On another note -- HELLOOOOO Glimmerglass. You'll BE at the IGC?!! I can't believe my eyes. Will we get a chance to finally meet you in the flesh? Details, man, I want details.
                            Yep - my wife and I decided we'd go to The Plains for the ICG over a few other options. We thought about just taking in Glenwood Park for the Virginia Fall Races but thought why not go bigger This was before any news of this 'U.S. Steeplechase Championships' was announced. I'm pretty familiar with the area so in the few days we're there, weather cooperative, we should be fairly entertained.

                            I'm still curious if this means wagering on-site there in The Plains:

                            Championship day will also mark the first time that two steeplechase venues will be simulcast and pari-mutuel wagering offered on their races. Plans are in the works for an international site to establish wagering pools and to offer betting to outlets around the globe.
                            Very cool SteeleRdr about having one in for the race. I'll cross my fingers for Straight Gin to be there too ....

                            I always thought No. Virginia's take was - essentially - feel free to look at the ponies, raise the ponies, and run them but don't you dare try to bet on them The exception being down in Richmond with Colonial Downs.

                            My continual lamenting on these events (for the viewing public at home) is that they try something a bit more innovative or at least progressive with broadcasting. It's a fixed course and they have have months to prepare. Verticle shots, sweeping camera shots with a crane jib which NBC has used for the BC before. How about a mic on the riders?

                            The use of Dave Johnson is a great sign that Universal is serious about this.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No on site betting, nope. All account wagering, but, you *can* be on site, live, and key in wagers on your cell phone if you're set up.
                              Fauquier never passed pari mutuel. Loudoun did, but was thwarted when the voters tried to derail a track plan going in near Haymarket; then the VRC double derailed it by selecting the Colonial Downs application a dozen years ago when they 'chose' the state's only track site.
                              Not even sure if PM ever came up for a vote in Fauquier. But I think with the new internet/interstate wagering stuff, it is now a federal regulating body, not a local jurisdiction issue.
                              The Georgetown Races at Morven once (twice?) tried portable mutuels, back when Loudoun's PM vote was alive. It never worked very well. Not sure how Fair Hill does in terms of handle, but I know that is a well-attended spring event up there.
                              GG you *must* check in with us all up this a-ways. I'm certain WateryGlen would be planning to attend in any case, and I'm sure JSwan and a few others would come if we set up a meet-and-greet. Maybe you want to bring the little missus and come out hunting or cartopping or basseting or-or-or-or ... There's so much to do up here in Horse Sports Fairyland.
                              Perhaps we can get little miss planner JSwan to make us a luncheon in Warrenton Friday??
                              PS Some of the *boys* have a helmet cam that they use in races around here. Facebook Pat Cooney and you can look at some of his video.
                              PPS I'm not even sure if Straight Gin is even still training.
                              * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Hunter's Rest View Post
                                PPS I'm not even sure if Straight Gin is even still training.
                                A shame although after that fall a while back I can see why if he never wanted to jump again. Just maybe we'll see either Rochester or the recently-turned-chaser Steppenwolfer racing at either venue.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  But Glimmerg. - are you going to set up a rendez vous with me and JSwan et al or what? JSwan made a terrific Warrenton lunch meeting once before - sure she/we could do it again, in your honor ...
                                  Who has Stephenwolfer? Most excellent. Rochester was amazing, but I've not seen him since he broke his timber maiden at Foxfield.
                                  * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Hunter's Rest View Post
                                    But Glimmerg. - are you going to set up a rendez vous with me and JSwan et al or what?
                                    Undoubtedly that would be quite lovely. My wife however is making the bulk of the arrangements for the weekend and has been somewhat mysterious in her plans. So I'm not sure what has already been "locked up" for time that weekend. I'll check with her and see what she has made plans for.

                                    Steppenwolfer was sold in late Spring of this year to Polaris Stables (who as you know own among others 'Preemptive Strike') and trainer Sanna N. Hendriks with Sean Clancy having a hand in the transaction. I should've asked Jonathan Sheppard about Rochester when I was standing next to him at Arlington Park. He was a bit more focused on his horse winning the big featured race at the time though

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Great news- thanks for posting! I'll be sure to share the info with my buddies.
                                      Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Blog | Horses & Hope calendar | Flickr | Instagram

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I plan on being there and would love to have a CoTH meet up! What say you all?

                                        Also, where's the best place for general admission parking? South? North? The last time I was there I was with Hunter's Rest and got some special privileges!
                                        View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com

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